Jump in music fees charged by record companies threatens village hall dance and aerobics classes Record companies planning hike in rates charged to amateur dance classesInstructors currently pay annual fee but will change to payment per sessionFears that community classes could be wiped out as obesity threat rises
01:55 GMT, 5 January 2013
01:59 GMT, 5 January 2013
Aerobics, fitness and Zumba classes held in village halls are under threat over plans for massive increases to the fees charged by record companies for the right to play music.
Currently, instructors play a flat annual fee for a licence to play music in their classes. However, from May this will change to a charge per session.
Some instructors are barely covering their costs and claim the decision will more than treble the fees they must pay to provide the pounding beats that drive their classes.
Threat: Community classes in village halls could be forced to close as record companies plan huge rises in fees charged to play music at classes
Community classes could be wiped out at a time when the threat of obesity and associated ill health, such as heart disease and diabetes, has never been greater.
The net effect of the new regime is that a busy instructor running 320 classes a year will see the annual bill rise from 178.66 plus VAT to just over 600 plus VAT by 2018.
At the same time, someone who runs fewer classes – 150 a year – would see the cost rise from 89.33 plus VAT a year to 282 by 2018.
In theory, the extra money raised through the regime will go to record companies, musicians and performers, however instructors suspect the cash will be swallowed up by the bureaucracy that runs the scheme.
Fitness instructors from every sphere of the diet and fitness industry from Zumba to the Rosemary Conley classes have launched a petition and campaign to fight the threat.
Instructor Nat Kirkbride, from the North East, said: ‘Many of us continue to run classes which barely break even because we love our classes and participants and because we are passionate about doing something to help people.
‘The vast majority of my classes are zumba fitness, and I use many international chart hits from well-known artists such as Pitbull, Daddy Yankee and Shakira, but also lesser-known artists here such as Mara, Soldat Jahman, Grupo Treo, Celia Cruz. How are they going to receive any of their PPL fees I don’t believe that they will benefit at all.’
She insisted the classes are important for the nation’s health and well-being, saying: ‘Community exercise classes are doing a huge service to our country. In the UK less than 20per cent of the population are gym members.
Rises: The net effect of the new regime is that a busy instructor running 320 classes a year will see the annual bill rise from 178.66 plus VAT to just over 600 plus VAT by 2018
‘They build fitness, confidence and friendships and are vital in the fight against the obesity epidemic.’
She added: ‘The result of these increases will be that many of us will have to review whether we can afford to continue some of our classes.’
Kerry Mullikin and Hannah Howcraft, who both run popular fitness classes in the Selby area of North Yorkshire joined the attack.
Kerry said: ‘This will not just affect Zumba classes – but every exercise class that uses music and will also affect gym classes as they will also face a hefty rise in PPL music licence fees – meaning they will pass this cost on to gym users or cut down on classes they host.’
Fitness instructors who use music are required to hold a Public Performance Licence(PPL). The PPL organisation was set up by the music industry in 1934 to make sure that music companies and performers are paid if their work is played in public.
It issues licences to hundreds of thousands of businesses and organisations ranging from TV and radio stations to bars, nightclubs, shops, hotels, factories, gyms and schools. Its work also covers compilations for exercise classes and in-flight entertainment systems.
Instructors with a PPL licence who transfer their music compilations onto an iPod or MP3 or burn a CD to play at classes must pay a separate flat rate fee for what is called a ProDub Licence of 85.11 a year before VAT, which will remain.
PPL said the new regime and charges have been agreed following consultation with the Fitness Industry Association, which is now known as ukactive, and the Register of Exercise Professionals.
It described the changes as ‘fair and reasonable’ and said the increases in fees would be phased in over five years to allow instructors to adapt.