PPL PRS, what’s the story?
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.

How does the music licence fee benefit the music industry?
Aside from our business costs all the revenue collected through TheMusicLicence goes back to the talented people who make music!

Royalties are paid through our parent companies, PPL and PRS for Music. Which means that those people who write, perform, compose, record or publish music are fairly paid and rewarded for their work.

who is ppl prs
What is next for PPL PRS?

We are currently in our ‘transition year’. This means that all businesses that are licensed with both PPL and PRS for Music will eventually be transferring over to TheMusicLicence as their annual music licence becomes due for renewal.

Following the transition of customers over to TheMusicLicence, our next priority will be education. We want to ensure that businesses and organisations understand the value of having TheMusicLicence. This includes where their money goes and how they are contributing towards the music industry.

By purchasing TheMusicLicence, businesses and organisations are helping musicians to continue writing, producing and performing. We’re not just talking about the global superstars we all recognise either. The income provided through royalties to session musicians, up and coming local bands, the yet unknown record producer, is vital in ensuring our music industry grows and new talent is discovered.

August 2018

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