Pub and nightclub groups have expressed their dismay at proposals to increase fees for playing music at discos and nightclubs by 10 to 20 times.
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and nightclub group Noctis said the plans are contained in a consultation document issued by collecting society Phonographic Performance (PPL), which collects royalties on behalf of record companies.
The BBPA has a meeting with PPL next Thursday to discuss its "deep concerns" about the proposals. It said a small pub company with six venues and running two to three discos per week could be facing huge fee increases. If 250 to 400 people typically attended each event, a current bill of £22,300 could become £220,000 under the new proposals - an increase of nearly 900%.
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: "These proposed increases for playing music are unacceptable and totally off the scale. They would be a huge burden on pubs and nightclubs. We have secured a meeting with PPL next week, where we would hope to see a quick move towards some much more realistic proposals."
Jon Collins, executive chairman of Noctis added: "Noctis and PPL have a long history of reasonable negotiation in relation to the SFE tariff, which stretches back many decades. This consultation falls out with that tradition, is based on flawed assumptions and would make a large proportion of the country's nightclubs and late night bars simply unviable. The consequence, should this new tariff structure be introduced, would be a silencing of the high street and the end of our world-leading DJ culture".
By Neil Gerrard
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