Music can be used in many different ways at live music venues and events.

Whether you’re staging music events at festivals, concert halls or other performances at live music venues, or playing background music in foyers, food and beverage areas you’ll usually need TheMusicLicence.

By obtaining TheMusicLicence you’ll be able to play PRS for Music and PPL music legally and enjoy its benefits whilst ensuring that its creators are fairly rewarded for their work

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Background Music Live event

The power of background music

Whether you’re playing background music in event foyers, food and beverage or staff areas, background music at festivals and live events has the potential enhance the experience and create an atmosphere that people enjoy. Your background music choices can create that ‘feel good’ mood and encourage visitors to stay, and return!

Find out more about the power of background music for live events…

Existing customers / TheMusicLicence Review

If you already have TheMusicLicence, you may be aware that your account is reviewed each year.

It is important for us to review your account so that we can accurately determine the cost of your licence and ensure we are aware of any changes to how you use music on your premises.

If you know your review date is approaching or already have been contacted by a member of the Live Team about your review, please complete the Live Music Review Form and return to your Account Manager. If you do not have an account manager, please return your form to upon completion.

Notice to customers regarding the implementation of a Modified Tariff LP.

You may be aware that on 15 May 2018 the Copyright Tribunal approved the terms of a Modified PRS Tariff LP – the tariff under which PPL PRS Ltd licenses “light and popular” live music events. Tariff LP events for which the General Sale of tickets begins on or after 11 June 2018 will therefore be licensed under the Modified Tariff LP terms. For more information on the consultation tribunal please visit the PRS for Music website.

Further information on how the changes may affect you can be found below.

Modified Tariff LP FAQs

Why has Tariff LP changed?

The live music sector has changed dramatically since 1988, when the current tariff was set by the UK Copyright Tribunal.  As a membership organisation, PRS for Music has an obligation to ensure that its licences are fit for purpose – and in respect of Tariff LP that it recognises the valuable contribution the songwriter and publisher members of PRS for Music make to the live music industry. Therefore, a consultation exercise about the terms of Tariff LP was launched in April 2015.  The consultation was undertaken with PRS for Music members, licensees, stakeholders and the representative industry bodies in the live music sector.

This consultation was followed by an extended period of negotiation with the key representative bodies in the live music industry about revising the terms of Tariff LP.  The representative bodies included the Association of Festival Organisers (AFO), Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), British Association of Concert Halls (BACH), Concert Promoters’ Association (CPA), Glastonbury Festivals Limited, Music Venue Trust (MVT), National Arenas Association (NAA), Society of London Theatre (SOLT), and the UK Theatre Association.

How was the decision to change the tariff reached?

Agreement was reached with the representative bodies and in July 2017 the terms of an agreed Modified Tariff LP were submitted to the Copyright Tribunal for approval. The Copyright Tribunal approved the terms of the Modified Tariff LP in an Order dated 14 May 2018.

Why have we not heard anything until now?

We were unable to confirm any changes until approval of the Modified Tariff LP was given by the Copyright Tribunal. The Copyright Tribunal approved the terms of the Modified Tariff LP in an Order dated 14 May 2018.

When can we expect things to change?

The new tariff will be effective from 11th June 2018 and will apply to those events for which tickets went on general sale on or after this date.

(N.B. general sale excludes pre-sales to fan club members and members of exclusive ticketing arrangements only available to people affiliated to or customers of a particular product or service.)

Will I save money on my licence?

The impact of the new terms will vary between licensees and will depend on the size and characteristics of each event (e.g. whether a Concert or a Qualifying Festival). For details on the new tariff charges, please see here or contact us speak to your account manager.

How will this affect my monthly/quarterly/annual reviews?

The introduction of the Modified Tariff LP will not result in any changes to the frequency of your review.

What charges can we expect to see for my venue?

The headline tariff rate has increased to 4.2% (or 4% where the licensees elect to account to PRS for booking fees and other charges incurred by the consumer as part of the price of admission to the live event), save for festivals that meet certain qualifying criteria who will benefit from a reduced rate.

The revenues to which our tariff is applied have been clearly defined in the new tariff terms – see here for the details.

What charges can we expect to see for my festival?

The rate for Qualifying Festivals has been reduced to 2.7% (or 2.5% where the licensee elects to account to PRS for booking fees and other charges incurred by the consumer as part of the price of admission to the live event).

The revenues to which our tariff is applied have been clearly defined in the new tariff terms – see here for the details

What is happening to the minimum fee?

The minimum charge has been reduced to £15, and will be waived if the necessary reporting is provided.

Will it affect my Classical, Theatre or Variety performance charges?

The revised tariff terms will only apply to events falling within the scope of Tariff LP.

How do I submit a set list to you?

Set lists will continue to be accepted by the usual methods.

How do I query the charges?

To discuss any charges that you are unsure about, please contact your account manager directly in the first instance.

Where can I find the modified tariff LP?

The tariff is available to view here.

How is my music licence cost calculated?

The cost of TheMusicLicence varies depending on the specific characteristics of each live event or venue, so please contact us for a quote. Before doing so, please ensure you’ve read our Music Licence Quote Checklist for each section that is applicable to you, and have the relevant information ready so we can provide an accurate quote for your live music event or concert music licence.

Quote Checklist

Live events

  • Number of events held per year
  • Capacity of these events

Specially featured entertainment events, e.g. DJs and dances

  • Number of events held per year
  • The duration, capacity and average attendance per event

Background music

  • The areas where music is used, such as in a café, bar or staff office areas
  • The square meterage of each area where music is audible
  • Type of devices used to play music, such as TV, radio, CDs etc.

Music videos

  • Number of TV screens music videos are played on

Understanding your music licence royalties

To help you understand how much TheMusicLicence could cost for your live music event you can view the individual PPL and PRS for Music tariffs that may be applicable to you.

PPL Tariffs
  • Background music in concert venues
  • Background music in pub, bars, restaurants and cafes
  • Music videos concert venues (VPL)
  • Specially featured entertainment
  • Single and casual events
PRS for Music Tariffs


Can I play or perform music by specific artists only?
  • TheMusicLicence covers millions of songs and recordings, including the most popular and well-loved music not just from the UK but also from around the world.
  • You can play or perform the music of specific artists only if you wish, but it will not affect the cost of your licence. That’s because the cost is not calculated based on which music artists you play, but instead depends on factors such as the size of your business or organisation and the ways you use music.
Where does the money go?
  • When businesses and organisations pay PPL PRS Ltd for TheMusicLicence, we pass those royalties on to our parent companies, PPL and PRS for Music (after deduction of our running costs). The royalties are shared between PPL and PRS for Music based on which of their respective licensing tariffs apply to the music usage under your licence, and the costs due under those tariffs.
  • PPL and PRS for Music each have databases storing details of millions of musical compositions and recordings. Together with a wealth of information about what music is being used by customers, this enables PPL and PRS for Music to determine fairly and efficiently which of their members to pay, and how much to pay them.
  • This means that, by purchasing TheMusicLicence, you are supporting the future of music by helping to ensure its creators are paid for their work, so that the people who write, perform and record it can continue making the music you love.