University & Students Union Music Licence

Universities, higher education colleges and students unions can legally play music in a variety of ways with TheMusicLicence.

From studying and revising to relaxing during your downtime, playing music in universities and colleges could help to create a more entertaining environment for your students and staff, and could contribute to creating a better working environment, promoting engagement, collaboration, productivity and motivation.


Do I need a music licence for a University?

Whether you’re playing background music across your campus, hosting live events and featured entertainment, or playing music for other extra-curricular activities such as student societies, graduations and open days, you’ll usually need a music licence from PPL PRS.

By obtaining TheMusicLicence you will have permission to use copyright music in your university whilst also demonstrating a commitment to ethical practices by being legally compliant and ensuring that artists and creators of music are fairly paid for the work they produce.

Create a euphony in your educational establishment.

Music plays a crucial role in creating an environment that encourages social interaction and provides an opportunity for students to interact, bond and converse in a more upbeat atmosphere, find common interests and avoid any awkward silences.

From hosting exciting live music events and karaoke nights to promoting student talent and expression. Playing music can support student well-being and could even provide a calming atmosphere and stress relief from the demands of academic responsibilities.

TheMusicLicence you will have permission to use copyright music in your university whilst also demonstrating a commitment to ethical practices by being legally compliant and ensuring that artists and creators of music are fairly paid for the work they produce.

Music for staff & student well-being

It’s more important than ever to create a positive environment that supports with student & staff health and well-being.

Many of us choose to listen to music in our day to day lives as it has the potential to make us feel more positive and upbeat. According to the British Association for Music Therapy, music can really help those with psychological, cognitive or communicative needs. Music can create a calming environment and  relieve stress and other anxieties that your students and staff may experience.

Music has the potential to make students and staff feel more at ease and focused, helping to re-energise your university, preventing feelings of being overwhelmed or stressed out and improving the health and well-being of your students and staff.

Did you know 93%1 of people that we surveyed agreed that music has a positive effect on their business.

  1. Research performed by PPL PRS in relation to TheMusicLicence January – March 2020.

Music & social interaction

A significant aspect of the university experience is to socialise and to build lasting friendships.  Did you know people associate musical taste with holding certain values? Studies have shown this assumed connection between music and values influences how much we think we’ll like someone based on their musical tastes.

Playing music in communal areas, comedy nights, open mic nights and other events provides an opportunity for students to interact, bond and converse in a more upbeat atmosphere, find common interests and avoid any awkward silences.

Common music usage in a university and students union?

  • Background music
  • Theatrical performances
  • Open mic nights
  • Pub/music quizzes
  • Karaoke
  • DJ sessions
  • Film screenings
  • Comedy nights
  • Music videos
  • Live performances

How much does a music licence for a university cost?

The cost of TheMusicLicence depends on a number of factors including how you use music in your day-to-day operations, square meterage, capacity, attendance, whether it be for background purposes, specially featured entertainment or live performances.


Starts from...
£1.42 per day

Background music

Starts from...
£1.01 per day

Quote Checklist

To help process your application, please ensure you have read our Quote Checklist for each section that is applicable to you, and you have the relevant information ready so we can provide an accurate quote.

Background music

  • The areas where music is played.
  • The square meterage of each area where music is audible.
  • Type of devices used to play music, such as TV, radio, CDs etc.

Live events & performances

  • Number and capacity of events held per year.

Specially featured entertainment events

  • Number, capacity, duration and attendance of events held per year.
  • The square meterage of each area where such events are held.

Box office figures

  • Total gross ticket sales (excluding VAT).

Music videos

  • Number of TV screens music videos are played on.

Telephone on-hold music

  • Details of any telephone on-hold music.

University & students union FAQs

  • I am a new customer and would like to get TheMusicLicence

    Ready to play music? Great!

    Now all we need are some details from you so we can get in touch, set up TheMusicLicence and have you playing music in no time.

  • Who is PPL PRS Ltd?

    PPL PRS Ltd was 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. PPL PRS Ltd is equally owned by PPL and PRS for Music.

    PPL PRS Ltd started trading in 2018. Prior to 2018, businesses and organisations would have had to purchase two separate licences from PPL and PRS for Music instead.

  • Who is PPL and PRS for Music?

    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 hundreds of 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 set up PPL PRS Ltd to offer a single joint music licence, on behalf of them both, for playing and performing music in public (see ‘What does playing music ‘in public’ mean?’).

  • What does playing music ‘in public’ mean?

    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 CDs, MP3, vinyl, tape and other records; showing TV broadcasts or other audio-visual content containing music; or putting on live performances of music.

    There are a range of tariffs to cover the different uses of music across various venue types. However, the use of this music will usually require permission from the copyright holders and TheMusicLicence will give you that permission, covering the vast majority of commercially released music.

  • I already have an entertainment licence. Why do I need TheMusicLicence?

    An entertainment licence is issued by your local authority. It gives you permission to provide entertainment on your premises. It may be subject to certain conditions such as time restrictions or number of people attending. You will still need a music licence for your bar or pub.

    TheMusicLicence gives you permission to play or perform the vast majority of commercially available music.. Consequently, this means that you don’t have to spend your time and energy contacting potentially hundreds of thousands of rights-holders – those people who create music – to get permission to play or perform their music in your business.

  • Who is responsible for dealing with TheMusicLicence?

    Universities and student unions are expected to establish who is responsible for licensing your premises.

    You will need to ensure that all of the music usage across your university and student union is declared to PPL PRS. This includes background music, live performances and events, societies such as theatrical, film, instrumental, dance, sport and many more.

    This allows us to accurately license your university and student union and ensures the royalties are correctly distributed to PPL and PRS for Music members.

  • What are dramatico-musical works?

    A “dramatico-musical work” refers to an opera, operetta, musical play, revue or pantomime for which the music has been specially written.

    The term includes musicals specially written for the stage (such as Phantom of the Opera, Wicked or West Side Story) as well as musicals first conceived for film (such as Disney’s The Lion King or Mary Poppins) and broadcast or sound recording (such as The Who’s Tommy or Pink Floyd’s The Wall).

  • What if my premises holds theatrical performances, pantomimes or comedy shows?

    If you are playing or performing music in a comedy show, theatrical performance or pantomime, you will usually need TheMusicLicence.

    There are a number of different tariffs to license the use of both live and recorded music in theatrical and variety performances.

    For more information, visit: for more information or contact our Theatre and Variety Specialist at

  • What if my premises hosts film screenings?

    If you’re hosting film screenings, you will usually need TheMusicLicence. The cost of this will vary depending the type of premises and how often you host events.

    Please contact us on for more information and for details of the appropriate tariffs and charges.

Get TheMusicLicence

At PPL PRS we have a specialised team of Live Music Advisers who will take you through your music licence application step-by-step, making it easy for you to obtain a music licence for the playing or performance of music at your event.

If your organisation is hosting multiple events you will be assigned a dedicated Account Manager; a regular point of contact who understands your business, account and your events. They will help you to manage all the licensing elements of your events and live performances.

Contact our Live Music Team on 0208 338 1407 or complete our contact form to get a quote today.

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Thinking about playing music in your pub, bar or nightclub and want to know more?

What is TheMusicLicence?

What is TheMusicLicence

TheMusicLicenceallows you to legally play music for employees or customers in your business through the radio, TV, other digital devices and live performances.
Learn more

Do I need a music licence?

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.
Learn more

Where does my money go?

Where does my money go?

After our business costs, music licence fees are distributed to all those involved in making music via our parent companies PPL and PRS for Music.
Learn more

How do I get TheMusicLicence?

Call us on
0116 290 0525

(8am-6pm, Monday-Friday)

Alternatively you can complete the online form and an adviser will be in touch.