Ben Hogwood's top tips on how classical musicians can maximise their revenue

Ben Hogwood's top tips on how classical musicians can maximise their revenue

04.06.18

PPL is this year’s sponsor of the Classic BRITs Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award.  For anyone starting out in music, it’s important to understand your music rights and how you can get paid when your music is used by others.  Did you know that when music you have performed on or own the rights to is played on radio, TV or in public places like bars, gyms and offices that you can be entitled to fair payment for this?  Well this is where PPL come in.

Established in 1934, PPL is the UK music industry’s licensing company looking after the rights of tens of thousands of performers and record companies.  Its members include both independent and major labels, together with performers ranging from emerging grassroots musicians through to established orchestral players and influential arena headliners.  PPL’s role is to make sure these members get paid fairly when their music is broadcast or played in public. 

Put simply; if you’re a musician of any level and experience who has performed on recorded music, you should become a PPL member – it is completely free to join too.

PPL’s Classical Repertoire Manager Ben Hogwood has, for over 16 years, been helping performers make the most of their work so they can receive money they may be entitled to for broadcast and public performance of their recordings.  His role sees him deal with the classical music industry on a daily basis – whether it is the performers who make the music, the rightsholders who release it, or the managers and administrators who are so important behind the scenes.

Fundamentally, Ben’s job aims to continually improve completeness and quality of repertoire data held by PPL within the classical genre.

Ben explains that if you are an active member of an orchestra or choir, you could have made hundreds of commercially available recordings owned by PPL members.

“You might be surprised how much money those recordings could earn, both in the UK and internationally. It’s not always the recordings you expect to do well that get airplay, so it’s really important to make sure you’re registered on all of your repertoire if possible.”

In his time with PPL, Ben has come to realise the importance of performers ensuring they are listed on PPL’s repertoire database on all their repertoire, as without this, PPL cannot always identify where they may be entitled to royalties.

“There is often crossover between classical and other genres”, he says, “and quite often orchestra players forget they have done pop work. It’s especially important for performers to make sure they are listed on these other projects.”

Both working in rights management, and as a classical musician in his own right, Ben has garnered a wealth of knowledge on maximising income for classical musicians.

These are Ben Hogwood’s top revenue-maximising tips for classical musicians:

Tip #1: Make sure you’re registered with PPL, for both domestic and international collections.

Your recordings might be getting airplay outside the UK, and if you complete an international mandate with PPL, we can collect international royalties on your behalf. You might be pleasantly surprised by your international popularity!  Check your statements to make sure, and get in touch with PPL’s Member Services team if you need help.

Tip #2: Check your repertoire list, especially if it’s been a while since you last looked at your PPL account.

Ensure your repertoire list is comprehensive and up to date, covering all periods and genres of your work.

Tip #3: Consider pop session work if you are able, for your earning legacy.

Recording a pop session or two increases the chance of being on a hit pop record – in which case a few hours’ or days’ work just might give you a lasting supplement to your classical income.

Tip #4: When in rehearsal, check the person next to you is registered!

Just because one member of an orchestra or choir is registered with PPL doesn’t mean they all are.  Support your fellow musicians and ensure they can receive payments they are entitled to from PPL.  

If you think your repertoire data needs updating, check it via your myPPL account; if you’d like to register with PPL, please visit www.ppluk.com; or get in touch with our Member Services team today at memberservices@ppluk.com or call on 020 7534 1234.

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