A consultation paper issued by Phonographic Performance Ltd, the society responsible for collecting royalties on behalf of record companies, suggests changing its Specially Featured Entertainment tariff (SFE), which applies to discos and DJ events in pubs, nightclubs, hotels and restaurants.
PPL says it needs to review the fees to make them fairer for all parties, but the BBPA says the new structure, which takes into account the number of people present and how long music is played for, would be a 'huge burden' on pubs.
According to the consultation, a small pub company with six venues running up to three music events a week could face a huge increase in fees. The BBPA says if between 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 per cent.
Off the scale
BBPA Chief Executive, Brigid Simmonds, said the proposed increases are 'unacceptable and totally off the scale.' “They would be a huge burden on pubs and nightclubs," she said.
Noctis, the nightclub's equivalent of the BBPA has also voiced its concerns about the plans. It will attend a meeting with the BBPA and PPL next Thursday to discuss the plans.
Noctis executive chairman Jon Collins said: "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 of 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”.
The BBPA, together with the British Hospitality Association (BHA) took action on behalf of pubs, restaurants and hotels against PPL in 2005 when it raised fees for venues playing background music by between 200 and 400 per cent.
Last year the organisations won a High Court ruling rejecting an appeal brought by PPL over the charges for the playing of background music in pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels which led to businesses receiving £20m in refunds for overpaid fees and saved the industry around £6m a year in new charges.
PPL's SFE consultation is open until 14 October 2011. It can be found at www.ppluk.com/en/Music-Users/SFE-Consultation/