PPL to celebrate British creators and music professionals during Black History Month


PPL HAS announced a month-long programme marking Black History Month, delivering a series of virtual events and online activities to celebrate and spotlight Black culture and talent in the music industry.

Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) is the UK’s music licensing company for over 110,000 performers and recording rights holders. They have been licensing the use of recorded music in the UK since 1934.

On PPL’s website they say that Black History Month presents an opportunity to further consider and address the insufficient representation of black British musicians and professionals across the industry.

As Black Out Tuesday recognised, modern popular music would be unrecognisable without the work of black creators and industry professionals.

Nancy Mills, a representative of PPL’s Diversity Forum

PPL’s programme will look to champion this representation using a mixture of internal and external events, which will highlight the work and contribution of its own black employees and also that of other black music creators and professionals working in the UK music industry. Black culture will also be celebrated as PPL staff and black industry figures share the films, books, and music made by Black creators that mean something to them.


PPL’s celebration of Black History Month is spearheaded by its newly formed Diversity Forum, an internal committee open to all staff which has a remit to suggest ideas and ensure that processes and opportunities are transparent and can be challenged where the Diversity Forum believes that improvements could be made at PPL.

Its formation was part of PPL’s five-point pledge in response to the Black Music Coalition’s call to action for the UK music industry. It will be focusing on a number of key areas: how the company approaches recruitment and opening other doors to career opportunities such as apprenticeships and internships; how to develop, reward and train staff and support their wellbeing; and how to engage with them on equality, diversity and inclusivity issues. 

The forum is already driving change in some of the company’s practices: a new online Diversity Hub containing useful information and resources for employees has been introduced whilst, in recruitment, anonymous CVs will now be used to reduce unconscious bias.


Celebrating Black History Month forms part of a wider equality, diversity, and inclusion agenda which seeks to educate employees throughout the year on diversity issues as well as cultural customs and history. In addition to future speaker and seminar sessions, PPL will be introducing in October a monetary contribution for employees to purchase educational material on equality, diversity and inclusion topics.

Nancy Mills, a representative of PPL’s Diversity Forum, said: “Black History Month is a great opportunity to highlight the contributions of the black community in every part of our lives, not least in music and culture.

“As Black Out Tuesday recognised, modern popular music would be unrecognisable without the work of Black creators and industry professionals, so it is only right that PPL acknowledges and celebrates their vast contribution to our cultural landscape.”

“We look forward to participating in the events planned for the month and celebrating the often overlooked contribution that Black people have made towards the music and culture of the UK and beyond.”


Peter Leathem, Chief Executive Officer at PPL, said: “The music industry, and our work at PPL, would look very different without the creative and professional contributions of the black community, and we are pleased to announce a number of activities and initiatives that will mark Black History Month and continue throughout the remainder of the year and into 2021.

“Award winning tuba player and composer, Theon Cross, Executive Director at Jazz re:freshed, Yvette Griffiths, and Director of the Black Music Research Unit at the University of Westminster, Mykaell Riley, along with our own black staff members and many others will highlight what the music industry is like for black professionals and the contributions to it of their predecessors and contemporaries.

“Elsewhere, PPL employees and other industry professionals will be sharing their favourite works of culture by black creators.”

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