Do I need a music licence?
If you use, play or perform music in your business or organisation, the chances are you need a music licence.
The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
Under The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, permission is needed from the relevant copyright holders – those people who create music – in order to play or perform music in public.
Obtaining TheMusicLicence gives you this permission, in relation to the vast majority of commercially available music. This ranges from grassroots and independent artists and composers through to the biggest names in the business.
- Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, permission is needed from the copyright holders – generally those who create, record and publish music – in order to play or perform music in public (broadly, this means in any other context than a domestic one).
- Through their many thousands of members, PPL and PRS for Music manage these rights in the vast majority of commercially released music available, and license that music for use by businesses and organisations in the UK via TheMusicLicence.
- This means that, if you play or perform music in your business or organisation in the UK, you will usually need TheMusicLicence. Instead of potentially having to contact many thousands of music rights holders individually for permission to play or perform their music, TheMusicLicence gives you those permissions in a single, simple transaction.
- It is your responsibility to ensure that you are properly licensed for any music use taking place at your business or organisation. Playing or performing music without the appropriate licence could amount to copyright infringement. If we have reason to believe that you are using copyright music without an appropriate licence, then we may collect evidence.
- When taking out a licence with PPL PRS Ltd, your rights and obligations are set out in the TheMusicLicence Terms and Conditions, including your obligation to pay a royalty and to provide us with information required under the applicable tariff to assist us in calculating that royalty.
- If any payments under the licence become overdue, we will contact you by post, email or telephone. If appropriate, we may refer the account to our enforcement team or a debt collection agency. In some cases we may even terminate your licence, which may then lead to legal action for copyright infringement.
- Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, permission is needed from the relevant copyright holders – those who create, record and publish music – in order to play or perform music in public.
- Broadly speaking, this includes any presentation of music outside of a domestic setting. For example, it will include using music in the following ways as part of your business or organisation (for the benefit of customers and/or employees): playing recorded music via any device, including the radio; showing TV broadcasts, or other audio-visual content, containing music; or putting on live performances of music.
- All these uses of music will usually require permission from the copyright holders and TheMusicLicence will give you that permission, covering the vast majority of commercially-released music.
- Purchasing music either digitally on a CD, record or tape permits you to listen to it at home for your personal use. However, if this music is played outside your home as a public performance, then you’ll usually need TheMusicLicence.
- If you are playing the radio in your business or organisation, you’ll usually need TheMusicLicence. Although the radio stations pay both PPL and PRS for Music for the right to broadcast, it does not include public performance. TheMusicLicence allows you to legally play music for employees or customers in your business or organisation.
- If you are playing music in your business or organisation for employees, then you’ll usually need TheMusicLicence. Music that is played outside of a domestic environment is classed as a public performance, even if the music can only be heard by employees in the workplace, canteen or staff areas. TheMusicLicence gives you permission to play music in your business or organisation.
- It is easy to forget that music is used all the time within TV programmes, advertisements during commercial breaks and other broadcasts. TheMusicLicence gives you permission to use the music contained in television programmes in a public place.
- A TV licence only allows you to receive the broadcast signal for the television. If you wish to use the TV in a public place, such as your business premises you will need TheMusicLicence.
- You will usually need TheMusicLicence to use radio programs of all types within your premises. Even if the station does not specifically broadcast songs, music may be used in other forms such as opening and closing titles, as part of the program itself as well as through the advertisements during commercial breaks
TheMusicLicence covers your premise(s) for this type of radio program as well as for most other types of radio broadcasts
How much could your music licence cost?
The cost of TheMusicLicence depends on a number of factors including your type of venue and how you use music in your day-to-day operations, whether that be for background purposes or specially featured entertainment.