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PPL has taken giant steps towards transparency and accountability: Rajat Kakar

In an interview with BW Applause and everythingexperiential.com, Rajat Kakar, President and CEO, PPL spoke about the new measures that the licensing body is undertaking to introduce greater transparency and security into the licensing system and how their latest offering-- PLUS is enabling a new era of hassle free licensing.

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PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) which is the music licensing body that represents the vast majority of Indian and Global Record Labels for monetization of their Public Performance rights and also licenses Radio Broadcasts for its members has recently introduced PLUS (Performance License for Usage Of Sound Recording) to make commercial licensing process efficient and hassle free.

In an interview with BW Applause and everythingexperiential.com, Rajat Kakar, President and CEO, PPL  spoke about the new measures that the licensing body is undertaking to introduce greater transparency and security into the licensing system and how their latest offering-- PLUS is enabling a new era of hassle free licensing.

Excerpts: 

What is PLUS, and how will it make commercial licensing hassle free?

PLUS (Performance License for Usage Of Sound Recording) is PPL’s digital licensing portal. It was introduced to simplify and standardise the license application and registration process, as well as introduce an additional layer of transparency and security. The old, manual license application system was tedious, and complicated, required constant correspondence, immense amounts of paperwork, and was very expensive overall. With PLUS the entire process can be completed on a single platform with minimal human interaction. It is to our old system what ane-mail is to a letter.

Digitisation has a lot of key advantages over the manual way of doing things. For starters, since records of all licenses issued are backed up on the cloud, all genuine licenses issued can be verified via a simple QR code scan. This will go a long way in eliminating any chance of fraudulent individuals or companies issuing bogus licenses and duping customers. Furthermore, PLUS has reduced the time taken to issue licences from weeks to mere minutes, this has been particularly beneficial for time-sensitive clients i.e. event organisers. 

We’ve received much praise for our system’s upgrade to PLUS (Performance License for Usage OfSound Recording) system, from our customers and licensing executives alike. The two points that are most unanimously lauded are the increased layer of transparency that PLUS brings to the table, and of course, significantly shorter waiting periods. In many ways PLUS exemplifies PPL’s new-found drive for enabling “ease of doing business” when dealing with our clients. 

How does one procure a PPL license following the implementation of PLUS?

PLUS in its current form starts when a PPL executive is contacted by a customer. The executive fills in the customer’s information i.e. address, type of business, number of outlets, location, etc. into the online database which generates a tax invoice. The Performa Invoice is sent to the customer, who upon making the payment, is issued a license. It’s so simple that future versions will actually allow customers to generate their own licenses. These will be very similar to a lot of DIY systems that already exist online such as college application portals and government websites that issue IDs. The entire process, which often took weeks to complete, can now be finished almost instantly.

How is PPL fighting copyright infringement?

Encouraging users to take licenses for the music they consume has always been an arduous task. The advent of piracy has only gone so far as to reinforce the idea that music is a free resource, like air or water. PPL faces a daily battle to get people to pay up, and over the years, we’ve developed a host of ingenious tools to aid us in our endeavour. These range from politely encouraging people to respect Copyright, which we do multiple times, before considering more extreme options. Going to court is our last choice!

What are the developments which are in the pipeline/future plans of PPL?

PPL has taken giant steps towards transparency and accountability, two core values that have driven the company ever since my tenure began in 2018. PLUS is one of the major milestones in our effort to implement the aforementioned ideals into every single aspect of the application process.

We’ve recently established a strong digital presence that allows us to engage with our customers directly and dispel many misconceptions that exist about music licensing. In the months to come, we will be investing heavily in spreading our message, on the importance of paying for the music you consume. 

One of our biggest projects of 2019-2020 will be enhancing our reciprocals network. This would effectively enable PPL India to collect license fees from overseas through our sister societies, for our member’s music played abroad. We’ve already partnered with collective management organisations in Ukraine, Pakistan, Nepal, and are in talks with our counterparts in the UK, Canada, Netherlands and many more to better serve our members with income from overseas.



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