Regulatory bodies ensure that record companies and other media organisations pay the band or artist royalties for use of their intellectual property. These regulators include:

  • Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) – they oversee the collection of royalties for album and single sales, both in physical formats and digital downloads and pay these to the bands and artists
  • Performing Rights Society (PRS) – a society of songwriters, composers and music publishers. They license the use of members’ musical compositions and lyrics when they are played in public, broadcast on radio or TV, used on the internet or copied onto physical products such as CDs or DVDs.
  • Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) – licenses the use of recorded music when played in public, broadcast on radio or TV, or used on the internet, on behalf of record companies and performers.
  • Video Performance Limited (VPL) - PPL's sister company and specifically deals with the licensing of music videos when they are played in public or broadcast on TV. VPL distributes the fees as royalties to its right-holder members.


The digital download caused major problems for the music industry as file sharing sites on the internet made it easy for consumers to illegally download music without paying for it.

Streaming sites funded by advertising, such as Spotify, are now widely used for listening to music for free.

Subscribers can pay a fee to stream music without adverts, with the option to download songs.

Royalties for the artists from streaming sites are small in comparison with digital downloads. This has led to questions about how these sites should pay royalties and resulted in some artists removing their music from streaming services.

YouTube is becoming an increasingly popular way of listening to music with videos by popular artists gaining millions of hits on the site.

Although YouTube may sometimes intervene to remove video content which breaches copyright, at other times it allows the video to remain but directs the advertising revenue to the copyright owners.

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