FAQs

Introducing TheMusicLicence, PPL PRS Ltd, and parent companies PPL and PRS for Music

What is TheMusicLicence?
  • TheMusicLicence allows you to legally play and perform music in your business, whether through the radio, TV, other devices and/or live performances.
  • If you play or perform music in your business or organisation in the UK, you will usually need TheMusicLicence. It will cover you, with one licence and one invoice, for the use of virtually all commercially released music available – millions of songs and recordings, including the most popular and well-loved music not just from the UK but also from around the world.
Who is PPL PRS Ltd?
  • PPL PRS Ltd is a new company, equally owned by PPL and PRS for Music. It has been created to provide customers with a streamlined music licensing service – TheMusicLicence – with a single point of contact to make it easier to legally play and perform music in public.
  • Previously, businesses and organisations would have had to purchase two separate licences from PPL and PRS for Music instead.
Who are PPL and PRS for Music ?
  • Our parent companies PPL and PRS for Music are both collective management organisations. They issue licences and collect royalties for certain uses of copyright-protected music, on behalf of their many thousands of members. They then distribute those royalties to members.
  • PPL represents record companies and performers for the use of recorded music, while PRS for Music represents songwriters, composers and music publishers for the use of musical compositions and lyrics (for both recorded music and live performances).
  • PPL and PRS for Music have set up PPL PRS Ltd to offer a single joint music licence, on behalf of them both, for playing and performing music in public.
  • PPL and PRS for Music will continue to carry out everything else they do separately. This includes representing their members, collecting royalties from international societies, developing, setting and consulting on their tariffs and licensing schemes, and licensing their broadcast, online and recorded media customers.
When will existing PPL/PRS for Music customers move to TheMusicLicence?
  • We will be moving existing customers over to TheMusicLicence in the twelve months following the launch of TheMusicLicence (the transitional year). We’re working hard to make sure the process is as seamless and easy as possible.
  • We will move existing customers over to TheMusicLicence when they reach their PRS for Music licence review date (or, if they are an existing PPL customer only, their PPL licence expiry date) during the transitional year.
  • We will be in touch with existing customers, in advance of their transition date, to explain in more detail how the transition process will work for them. If you currently pay for an existing PPL or PRS for Music licence by Direct Debit (DD), you do not have to do anything, your Direct Debit will be transferred over to PPL PRS Ltd for you.
What if I currently pay by Direct Debit (DD)?
  • We will be in touch with existing customers, in advance of their transition date, to explain in more detail how the transition process will work for them. If you currently pay for an existing PPL or PRS for Music licence by Direct Debit (DD), you do not have to do anything, your Direct Debit will be transferred over to PPL PRS Ltd for you.

More about TheMusicLicence

Do I need TheMusicLicence?
  • 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.
How much does TheMusicLicence cost?
  • The cost of TheMusicLicence for a particular business or organisation depends on a number of factors, such as the size of the business or organisation and the ways it uses music.
  • PPL and PRS for Music each have a separate set of licensing tariffs, covering different business types or ways of using music. The tariffs applicable to a particular business or organisation set out the relevant factors for calculating what TheMusicLicence will cost.
  • Things like the size of a business are measured in different ways under different tariffs, depending on what is appropriate for each business type. So, to calculate your fee, we may need you to provide information such as square meterage, number of employees, or venue capacity. We may also need to know the types of devices you use to play recorded music, and information about any live performances of music.
  • Although we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the website information and pricing, regrettably errors do occasionally occur. Therefore please contact us directly to discuss the tariffs relevant to you and get an accurate quote for TheMusicLicence.
Will the cost of PPL and PRS for Music tariffs be different under TheMusicLicence?
  • PPL and PRS for Music will continue to set their respective licensing tariffs separately from each other. Those tariffs will be applied by PPL PRS Ltd when issuing TheMusicLicence to customers. PPL and PRS for Music will each continue to review the cost of their respective tariffs from time to time, but the launch of TheMusicLicence will not in itself affect the costs under those tariffs.
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.
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.
What music usage does TheMusicLicence not cover?
  • TheMusicLicence gives you the right to use all the music that PPL and PRS for Music can license in the UK on behalf of their members and affiliated international societies. This will cover the vast majority of commercially released music available from around the world, but very occasionally there may be some music which is not covered by TheMusicLicence, or for which you do not require TheMusicLicence. For more information, please visit What is TheMusicLicence?
What are TheMusicLicence Terms and Conditions?
  • Click here to view TheMusicLicence terms and conditions.
If I have already purchased the music, why do I need to pay for a licence?

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.

I only play the radio, why do I 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.

The music is only for the employees, do I still need a licence?

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.

What if I use a mobile phone to play music?

Using a mobile phone to play music in public is the same as playing it through a device such as an iPod, MP3 player or digital radio. If you are playing music in your business or organisation using a mobile phone, then you’ll usually need TheMusicLicence.

I only play a specific type of music

Not only do PPL and PRS for Music represent millions of musical compositions and recordings from UK artists and music creators. They also represent international artists and music creators through

100 affiliated societies in 150 different countries around the world. that all operate under reciprocal agreements. The royalties collected are passed to the relevant overseas society who will in turn pay the artists and music creators.

I already have a TV licence

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.

I only use the TV for sport

Sports programming uses more music than people realise, such as, opening and closing titles, highlights and featured sequences as well as the advertisements during commercial breaks. TheMusicLicence allows you to use the Television for showing sports and other programming in a public place.

I have music on my telephone on hold system, do I need TheMusicLicence?

If you are using music on your telephone system in your business or organisation, then you’ll usually need TheMusicLicence. The music on your telephone system is being played for your customers and is classed as public performance.

In some cases, PPL and PRS for Music have agreements in place with music suppliers who provide you with TheMusicLicence as part of the service they offer.

My Jukebox or music supplier has told me they’ve paid for the licence

PRS for Music

  • PRS for Music license the premises where the music is being played and don’t have any licensing agreements with jukebox or background music supplier companies. This means that you’ll usually need TheMusicLicence.

PPL

  • Where a jukebox is rented from a supplier a PPL licence is taken out by the jukebox operator on behalf of the premises, which means the PPL licence is included with the jukebox rental, however you may still need to contact us to arrange for the PRS for Music licence.
  • If the jukebox is owned by the premises, then the PPL licence will not be included and you’ll usually need TheMusicLicence.
  • If you are using music in other ways, for example live performances, discos, TVs, radio or other digital devices, you’ll usually need TheMusicLicence.
Why might a surcharge apply to certain tariffs?

A number of PPL’s tariffs are subject to a 50% surcharge to discourage unlicensed music use and late payment of royalties, and to compensate for the associated costs. It is important to pay your invoice in full by the due date, otherwise a surcharge may be applied to your account. If a surcharge is applied, a separate surcharge invoice will be issued.

Modified Tariff LP

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.)

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

MPLC

Has the launch of PPL PRS changed the licence(s) I need to get?

PPL PRS Ltd is a joint venture between the UK’s two music licensing societies, PPL and PRS for Music. It has been created to provide our customers with a streamlined music licensing service – TheMusicLicence – with a single point of contact to make it easier to obtain a music licence for the playing or performance of music in public. Previously, businesses and organisations would have been required to purchase two separate licences from each of PPL and PRS for Music.

Why can one licence not cover all of my licensing needs?

PPL PRS Ltd licenses the use of music in public and the change to the law has no effect on the need to obtain such a licence. PPL PRS Ltd represents performers and record companies (on behalf of one its parent companies, PPL) and publishers, composers and authors (on behalf of its other parent company, PRS for Music). It does not control the rights in programmes (including TV programmes) which are now licensable, further to the change in the law.

If I already pay for a PPL and/or PRS for Music licence, do I also need to buy an MPLC licence?

We would recommend you contact the MPLC directly to discuss your licensing requirements. PPL PRS Ltd can provide you with the appropriate licence for the use of music in your premises.

What is the MPLC? Is it related to PPL and PRS for Music or PPL PRS Ltd?

In June 2016, there was a change to copyright law. Prior to this, if there was no entry fee, premises could legally play films (including TV programmes) without having to obtain a licence from the owners of rights in those films. The change in law removed the exemption and means that these owners can now license businesses for playing the TV in their premises, even where no admission fee is charged. The MPLC is the Motion Picture Licensing Company, an organisation which controls rights in certain films and TV programmes and therefore offers a licence for this use.

The MPLC is not in any way related to PPL and/or PRS for Music and/or PPL PRS Ltd. It is a separate company that represents a different set of rightsholders.

Why have I received a letter from the MPLC?

We would recommend you contact the MPLC directly to discuss their correspondence. For more information about the MPLC please visit www.themplc.co.uk