Neighbouring Rights FAQ

Ever wondered what neighbouring rights actually are and if you qualify?   See below for answers to many of the frequently asked questions.  Please email us with further questions or to request that we administer and collect your neighbouring rights royalties.  Please also see this article in Music Week about our neighbouring rights collection service:  Music Week Article_Neighbouring rights

Neighbouring rights are the rights related to the public performance of master recordings. In order for a recording to be legally performed in public, a licence must be obtained from the owner of the sound recording. This is typically handled through a neighbouring rights organisation such as PPL.

PPL, or Phonographic Performance Limited, is the neighbouring rights organisation in the UK.  Any business that plays recorded music within PPL’s repertoire in public, such as a shop, bar, office, restaurant, gym, community building, not-for-profit organisation, or activities such as dance classes need to have a PPL licence. A PPL licence is required when master recordings are played in public (including on radio and TV) in the UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands. In exchange for the licences, PPL collects licence fees from the businesses performing recordings and distributes royalties to the owners and performers of recordings.

Neighbouring rights royalties are split into two shares: a “performer’s share” and a “rightsholder’s share.” Anyone who made an audible contribution to a recording may qualify for the “performer’s share.” This can include artists, background singers, session musicians, kazoo players, producers, conductors, drummers, etc. The owner of the copyright in the recordings (usually a record label) is entitled to the “rightholder’s share.”

 

You can only be paid neighbouring rights royalties if you and your recordings are properly registered with the neighbouring rights societies around the world. If your recordings are registered without you listed as a performer, the societies are not going to know that they need to pay you!

No. PRS handles publishing and PPL handles sound recordings. They are two separate companies and in most cases, a licence is necessary from both of them to legally play recorded music in public.

Yes, particularly if the recording was made outside the United States. However, if you are a US citizen and the recording was made solely in the US, you will still be able to collect royalties, but collections for performances other than those on digital radio may be limited.

Yes. For US performers, it’s common to collect your US royalties through SoundExchange and to collect your neighbouring rights royalties through another company.

Yes and no. A performer with enough knowledge, time and drive can affiliate with one or more neighbouring rights societies, register their works and ensure they are properly credited on all recordings. But in many cases, the volume of recordings, filing idosyncracies and time commitment outweigh the benefits of complete self administration.