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UKHospitality warns against PPL music licence tariff increase

UKHospitality has cautioned that any increases to the UK music licencing body’s ‘SFE’ tariff will place considerable burdens on venues and limit their ability to offer recorded music.

The organisation which provides businesses with licences to play recorded music, PPL, has begun formally consulting on a revised Specially Featured Entertainment (SFE) tariff which would apply to a range of businesses including nightclubs, pubs, restaurants, hotels and bars.

Kate Nicholls, the chief executive of UKHospitality, has warned that a hike in tariff prices could “drive music out of venues” and force some hospitality businesses to close. She said: “We see no reason why there should be a need to fundamentally change the SFE tariff and increase costs for businesses already struggling against a swathe of taxes.

“It is clear that if PPL’s current thinking were to be implemented it would result in massive increases in licence fees, inevitably leading to higher prices for customers and significantly reducing the ability of establishments across the UK to play recorded music, when mixed by DJs or for dancing.

“UKHospitality will be liaising with our members and other stakeholders to robustly respond to these proposals.”

PPL chief executive officer Peter Leathem, said: “This consultation paper provides an important opportunity for licensees to contribute to the review and potential reform of PPL’s Specially Featured Entertainment tariff.

“Through licensing the use of recorded music at SFE events, we are keen to see our repertoire continue to support and drive entertainment within the hospitality sector. In an environment where recorded music forms a very significant part of the business proposition, it is important that those who invested their time and talent in creating such music are fairly rewarded.

“We therefore welcome responses from our licensees in order to help us finalise our views on a potential new SFE tariff.”

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