Who is PPL PRS?

PPL PRS Ltd is a joint venture between the UK’s two music licensing organisations – PPL and PRS for Music.

What is the story behind PPL PRS and when did the parent companies form the joint venture?

PRS for Music was formed in 1914 and they represent the rights of songwriters, composers and music publishers. Whereas PPL was founded in 1934, represent performers and record companies. They have been issuing public performance licenses separately for over 100 years.

After lengthy consultation with regulatory bodies and key stakeholders, the two organisations subsequently formed PPL PRS Ltd, to provide one public performance licence. Simultaneously, in February 2018 TheMusicLicence was launched. TheMusicLicence provides businesses with one contact, one invoice and one licence for public performance music licensing.


Meanwhile, PPL and PRS for Music will continue to carry out everything else they do separately, other than public performance licensing. This includes representing their members and collecting monies owed to them from international societies. Additionally they will continue to independently consult on and negotiate their tariff rates and licensing their broadcast, online and recorded media customers.

Who needs a music licence – and why it is important that businesses have one?

Generally, anyone who plays or performs music in public needs TheMusicLicence. This means that if you wish to play music at a business, social activity or special event, you will usually need TheMusicLicence. Even if the music you play is only heard by your employees, say in a staff room or canteen, this is still considered a public performance, and therefore still requires a licence. Additionally, if you wish to use the TV in a public place, such as your business premises, you will need TheMusicLicence.

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 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.

It also means they don’t have to spend time and energy contacting potentially hundreds of thousands of rights-holders individually to get permission to play or perform their music in their business.

What are the benefits of playing music in a business?

We believe that music can be as much a part of your brand image as the company name or décor. The right song choices in your business can altogether help add to your customer experience, staff productivity and moral, as well as encourage loyalty and brand recognition.

Caffe Nero Music Licence

But don’t just take our word for it. Pablo Ettinger, co-founder of Caffè Nero uses music to benefit the business in a number of ways:

We use music to change the atmosphere. Like all good retailers we split our day into parts… and you can actually feel the atmosphere change. More and more up-tempo as we go through the day so it has a huge influence.

Pablo Ettinger – Co-founder of Caffè Nero

What do businesses need to do if they think they need a licence or decide to start playing music in their premises?

Music can bring your business or event to life. And we want to make purchasing TheMusicLicence as straightforward and simple as possible. This was the driving factor behind the formation of PPL PRS. We are here to ensure businesses could obtain a music licence without having to go to both PPL and PRS for Music.

If a business decides to start playing music they simply need to contact us and our New Business Team can talk them through the process. They will provide a bespoke quote based on a variety of factors, such as the size of their business and how they plan to use music. It could be background music via radio, digital device or television, or perhaps they wish to hold live events and performances. Our advisers will ensure the customer is correctly licensed to play virtually all commercially released music available which includes millions of songs and recordings not just from the UK, but also from around the world.

The impact music has on your business

Music could have a positive impact on your business in many ways. It can help to set the tone, boost the mood and create a more upbeat atmosphere.*

Did you know that 93% of people agree the atmosphere in their business would be different without music? 

Or that 88% agree that music lifts the mood and creates a more welcoming atmosphere?

Music could help with employee engagement and drive collaboration and interaction with customers. 

This can create a more well-rounded experience with 88% of people agreeing that music is enjoyable to staff and customers.

*Research performed by PPL PRS in relation to TheMusicLicence, Feb – Mar 2020. Figures based on a group of 73 participants.

Here is what some businesses say about how music has affected them:

Pablo Ettinger -
Caffè Nero
“A very, very large percentage of our customers are loyal and they come back every day or twice a week and the music has to be part of that otherwise they wouldn’t come back if they didn’t like it.”
Accent Clothing
"Right from when we started music has always been part of our identity... it’s part of our blood. It’s all part of the atmosphere and all part of the flavour of the shop, we like to play the right music at the right time"
Simon and Sophie Webster -
Simon Webster Hair
“We have a hugely diverse and eclectic clientele which partly comes from the diversity and eclecticism from the music that we play”

Where does the money go?

After our business costs, all the money collected via TheMusicLicence flows back to our parent organisations, PPL and PRS for Music to process, allocate and distribute as royalties to the music creators they represent.

PPL and PRS for Music each have databases storing details of millions of musical compositions and recordings. Together with a wealth of information about the music which 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.

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 know and love.

Legal Requirements

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.

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 bigest names in the business.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a licence? What is TheMusicLicence? How much does it cost? Find help and answers to our frequently asked questions.