Licence for Playing Live or Recorded Music

As a rule, you will need to get a licence to play live or recorded music in public places. Since 2018, PPL and PRS for music joined forces to collect licence fees from UK businesses and organisations.

Payment of 'TheMusicLicence' allows you to play music for employees or customers legally at a place of business via radio, TV, other digital devices, and through live performances.

Almost all businesses, social activities, or special events play some music. Doing so means you may need to pay for TheMusicLicence.

Playing royalty-free music does NOT require a licence. But, getting a PPL PRS licence is most likely a requirement if you are:

  • Playing recorded music in a public place or at your business premises (it also applies to background music on a CD, music channel, or a radio).
  • Staging live music events in public (e.g. a concert or music festival).
  • Playing live or recorded music inside a theatre.
  • Using sound recordings in a theatrical production (on/off-stage effects).

Note: In fact, playing live or recorded music in public without a licence is an infringement of copyright. Doing so means you may be sued for damages.

How TheMusicLicence Works

The organisation collects licence fees from businesses and organisations for the two parent companies. They are Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) and the Performing Rights Society (PRS for Music).

PPL licence fees cover the use of recorded music on behalf of performers and record companies. Money collected for PRS for Music helps to pay for the use of musical compositions and lyrics (e.g. by composers, publishers, and songwriters).

In case you were wondering:

The fees collected from a licence to play live and recorded music ensures a fair reward for the people who create music using their talent and work.

How Much is TheMusicLicence?

In fact, there are various charges for TheMusicLicence in United Kingdom. It depends on several factors, such as:

  • The type of venue that is playing live or recorded music.
  • The way a venue uses the music in day-to-day operations (for background purposes or as specially featured entertainment).

Who Needs a Licence to Play Live or Recorded Music?

In most cases, you will need to get a licence from PPL PRS to play live or recorded music in public. Typical venues include:

  • How to Get a Licence to Play Live or Recorded Music in United KingdomBingo halls and casinos
  • Churches and church halls
  • Cinemas and theatres
  • Gyms and other health facilities
  • Hairdressers and beauty salons
  • Hotels and guesthouses
  • Offices and factories
  • Public transport
  • Pubs, bars, and nightclubs
  • Restaurants and cafes
  • Shops and retailers
  • Social clubs and members’ clubs
  • Sports grounds and other sporting facilities (e.g. bowling alleys)

You can also check whether you need a licence or get a quote by contacting PPL PRS by email or by phone.

Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 0800 0720 808
Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm
Find out more on call charges.

Note: PRS for Music have been collecting royalties since 2012. But, you can now get a single licence from PPL PRS instead paying for separate licences.

An Example:

Most shops and stores play music to enhance the atmosphere for customers and for employees. So, you most likely need TheMusicLicence to play background music on the shop floor or for staff in the back office areas.

How is Music Licence Cost Calculated?

Suppose you play music to retail customers on a shop floor measuring less than 100 square metres. In this example, the combined yearly music licence for your retail shop would be around £307 (excluding VAT).

Alternative Methods for Getting a Licence

In some cases, PPL PRS Ltd may not manage the type of music you want to play. If not, you would need to get a licence from another licensing body.

Other licensing bodies and collective management organisations can agree licences with users on behalf of the owners. Thus, they would collect any royalties owed to the rightful owners.

How to Get a Licence to Play Live or Recorded Music in United Kingdom