PPL MD Rajat Kakar: We are keen on raising awareness about licensing

By Bryan Durham - October 5, 2018

The boss of the Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) India, Rajat Kakar became the Managing Director (MD) with effect from January 1, 2018. What does the PPL do, though? The PPL has been operating for over 70 years and is a platform for collective licensing for more than 250 music labels. We did another interview with Rajat when he was appointed MD and now, this is the follow-up, nine months later with all the latest developments….

PPL MD Rajat Kakar: We are keen on raising awareness about licensing

Rajat Kakar

Can you tell us what is your vision for the PPL?
I joined PPL with a clear mandate to make it a professional and transparent organisation working to enhance value for its members and offering hassle free licensing for users. Transparency in licensing, ethical business practices, exemplary corporate governance, fair distribution of licensing income are extremely important and I think that these are the key criteria that are the hallmark of a well-run collective rights management organisation.

What are the strategic changes you plan to bring about?
The idea is to make the process of obtaining a PPL license – easier, quicker and friendlier for users of our Sound Recordings for either Background usage or for Events. Simple example of background usage is playing music in retail stores. We also want people to understand what we do and explain that that we are a collective rights management organisation that works to simplify licensing of our members works and ensure the same is paid back to the labels, as per usage. Towards this end we are bringing in online licensing for ease of obtaining a sound recording license. The system will be called PLUS which stands for Performance License for Usage of Sound recording. Further we are investing in distribution software to make the task of royalty distribution to members more accurate and faster. All this is being done while increasing our coverage of establishments that pay for using copyrighted content.

How does PPL tap music which get played at weddings or events?
We are keen to raise awareness about licensing and the importance of it. However, currently when an event is held in a respectable venue, the venue itself asks the party to take a PPL license. We are in the process of broadening our reach and are trying to get all the event venues listed with us so the process becomes organic.
In addition to this, we are trying to use social media to know where all our music is being used. There are advanced data analytic companies that are throwing out information using Big data analysis and informing us that ‘in so-and-so town at so and so time your music has been used’. And there are licensing efforts that will flow in that direction with this information to help us.

Any music label recently collaborated with PPL or future collaborations coming with PPL?
We are constantly engaging with music labels to get more members on board. Lahari Music of Bangalore has recently joined us for Public Performance rights management, we have currently over 270 members and have plans to take this number past 300 before the end of the year

PPL has 270+ music labels under it. Also T-Series has again collaborated with PPL? Kindly Share more on this?
Yes. Our endeavor is to keep growing and adding music labels to the PPL licensing bouquet. We are delighted to renew our association with T Series for Public Performance Licensing in the Country. T-Series has renewed an exclusive arrangement with PPL. They are undoubtedly the leading music label in the Indian music market and have been associated with PPL for almost a decade. PPL now has a lion’s share with a complete bouquet of International, New Hindi Film, New Hindi albums, remixed songs and also Old Hindi Classics. PPL public performance license is taken by hotels, clubs, retail stores, for events and background music usage so as to play their choice of music at the venue or event. The choice we offer to users is immense and hope to increase it further in the coming years

Bhushan Kumar is now on the board of directors of PPL. How is he contributing to PPL?
We are delighted to have Mr. Bhushan Kumar on the board of directors. He has a deep understanding of the market and knows all the nuances of the business. He has built T-Series as a powerhouse for music and with him on the Board of Directors we are sure PPL will scale further heights in the years to come.

What do we expect from PPL in the coming months?
We are tuning in with the changing times and are actually revamping the working style at PPL. We are going to launch an online licensing system. Nobody has to reach out to us or find where we exist. Consumer can go online, fill in the details, which will give the tariff amount one has to pay, do a NEFT/Credit Card and download the license. This will ensure transparency in the system.
We are also trying to communicate more with the vendors, hotel managements and also citizens so that they understand the motto and workings of PPL. We are trying to participate in industry events and have also bought on board a PR agency in order to spread our word far & wide.
In addition to this on the backhand we are in the process of revamping our constitution, which are the Articles of Association so that we are in touch with the times we are living in. There will be an AGM held soon on the same. Though it sounds small, this change, should hold us in good stead for the next 20 or so years.

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