Please read our latest update, with an update from REPs Registrar, Jean-Ann Marnoch, on the changes to PPL…
Having come across various Facebook and blog comments regarding recent changes to PPL, I can see the reasons for most of the concerns.
As an Exercise To Music (ETM) teacher for 26 years I understand many of the issues and hope that I’m now in a position to put some clarity around the recent changes.
The PPL tariff in question was introduced over twenty years ago. Over that period, the price has only ever been altered based on inflation, adjusted in line with the Retail Price Index.
In that time, both the way our sector works and the way music is used has changed beyond recognition.
PPL first approached the FIA and REPs to start a review of this tariff in 2008. This came at the same time as the Australian Fitness Industry was facing a costly court battle based on unilateral fee rises which, in the end, resulted in a fee level far in excess of what has been agreed in the UK.
At the time, the FIA together with the working group which included REPs took the view that we would be better served working with PPL than fighting them through the courts; other industries had taken that option and failed.
PPL has a legal right to collect fees which are deemed to fairly value the use of music in public, so they have considerable support.
Working with the FIA and the working group (experts drawn from across the sector including REPs, Les Mills, Fitpro and Industry Operators and PPL), REPs helped to conduct an extensive consultation with exercise professionals, both those that work within fitness facilities and in the wider community.
Whilst over 50% of Instructors reported doing more than 200 classes per year, less than 5% of the licences purchased by PPL covered this amount. The current system was not working and needed reform.
82% of professionals solely work at fitness facilities. The reforms to the system mean that their Employer will now be responsible for holding the licence.
68% of respondents, when given the choice, advocated a system whereby operators were responsible for classes in their facilities, and Instructors took responsibility for the classes that they ran at community venues. A further 15% advocated a sole operator responsibility. Exercise professionals were advocating a move to the system, which has now been adopted.
80% suggested that the ‘per class’ model should be the basis of the licence, with 70% arguing that this model was the single most suitable determinant to base the fee, which in fact it has become.
Ultimately, whilst no-one ever welcomes an increase in fees, it is important that this agreement is viewed in the context of much larger increases in fees across other sectors (such as; retail, pubs and nightclubs), and in particular, the costly challenge faced by the Australian Fitness Industry to counter a unilateral increase in fees by the Australian equivalent of PPL.
It should be noted that the fee agreed by the Working Group, which included REPs, reflects a considerable reduction on the initial fees demanded by PPL at the start of the negotiation. This agreement marks the result of four years of discussions between the FIA, its Working Group of experts drawn from across the sector (REPs, Les Mills, Fitpro and Industry Operators and PPL). The final fee, which will only come into effect in five years’ time, brings the fees to a comparable level with PRS for Music – an existing licence which exercise professionals are required to hold.
Finally, you should be aware that this fee is only for PPL licensable music and there are other providers ‘out there’ where you do not need to purchase a PPL licence to play their music. PPL were made fully aware during this process that there was considerable potential for Instructors to switch to rights included music, which Instructors should be willing to consider.
The below costing will come into effect on the 1st May 2013, for further information, and details on the transitional process please visit www.fia.org.uk
1 May 2013 to 30 April 2014 £0.95 fee per class
1 May 2014 to 30 April 2015 £1.25 fee per class
1 May 2015 to 30 April 2016 £1.50 fee per class
It is worth reminding everyone of the reason for REPs. It is NOT to act as a union for the members, quite the contrary actually, it is to protect the public and professionalise the industry and improve the credibility of the sector as a whole..
In fact we refuse entry to around 600 applicants per year because they don’t meet the agreed National Standards. We have also removed nine registrants from REPs in the last three years for breaching the Code of Ethical Conduct.
With 29,000 registrants we are able to gather opinion on subjects such as PPL, and are extremely happy to do so.
I can assure everyone that the FIA and the Working Group including REPs worked extremely hard on the industry’s behalf to get a huge reduction to the fee that was originally proposed and find a workable solution based on feedback from the REPs members.
Both REPS and the FIA welcome any further feedback and if you have any questions about the new system that we can help to answer, please do not hesitate to ask. We are happy to feed in your views to PPL and provide further clarity where possible.