If you’re a business owner, it’s important to know how you can legally play music. Without infringing on copyright laws and ending up facing a fine or legal action.

In this blog post, we’ll answer the top questions asked about legally playing music in a business. We’ll also explore what the alternative is when you can’t justify the cost of a music licence.

Can I Play Music in My Business?

Any business, regardless of its type or size, can play music. However, it is crucial to ensure that the correct license is obtained.

When you play commercial music in your business for your customers and/or staff, it is considered a public performance of the music. According to the Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act 1988, you must obtain the copyright holder’s permission to publicly perform their music.

To comply with the law, you will need to purchase a music license from PRS PPL. The only exception is royalty-free music. You can learn more about royalty-free music here.

The Music Licence UK

If you want to play commercial music in your business, that’s music you play via a radio, CD, TV or digital streaming service, you need to purchase a music licence. This can only be purchased in the UK from PRS PPL.

PRS (Performing Right Society) and PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) represent the interests of the copyright holders. Together they operate TheMusicLicence. The fees collected from licenses are distributed as royalties to the artists, songwriters, record labels, and performers.

You can play any commercial music in your business once you have purchased a music licence from PRS PPL.

Is the Music Licence Legally Enforceable?

Yes, you are infringing copyright if you play live or recorded music in public without a licence. You could be sued for damages. PRS and PPL are very proactive in ensuring businesses play music legally. They are known to conduct site visits and telephone calls to collect evidence of illegal music use.

Read about the experience of many business owners who did not know they needed a music licence here, Trust Pilot Reviews PRS PPL.

The only exception is if you play royalty-free music.

Royalty-Free Music. The Legal Alternative to the Music Licence 

Legal music for business owners

Many business owners find the music license hard to justify due to the cost. The good news is, that you do not need a music licence when you play royalty-free music. It’s a legal alternative and provides a very cost-effective way to play music in any business.

Playing Royalty-Free Music – No PRS PPL Music Licence Required

Royalty-free music is a popular choice with business owners who want to play music but don’t want to spend hundreds of pounds to do so.  

You can play royalty-free music in your business without a licence because PRS PPL does not collect royalty payments for the copyright owners.  A music licensing company pays them instead.

Along with saving money, another key benefit of a royalty-free music service is the flexibility to pay monthly. Which helps keep costs manageable.

Where can I Find Royalty-Free Music? 

Several platforms provide access to royalty-free music. There’s plenty of variety and most business owners can find music that suits their business’s ambience and customer base. 

It’s what we do here at Background Sounds.  We have an extensive library of royalty-free playlists designed for use as background music. They will help you create the perfect ambience for your business at a fraction of the cost of a music license.

What to Look for in a Royalty-Free Music Provider 

Not all providers of royalty-free music are the same. It’s important that the service you choose can prove that they are providing you with royalty-free music. PRS PPL may ask you to show proof of where you got your music from.

You should make sure that you can obtain a statement or certificate from the company supplying you with music, as evidence.

5 top tips on what to look for in a royalty-free music provider.

Saving money

Certificate available that you can pass on to PRS PPL 

Regular new music added to the library

Plenty of music variety across playlists

Responsive customer support team 

Pay monthly option

Lovely Atmosphere

It has helped to create a lovely atmosphere for our customers to shop in and for our staff and volunteers to work in.

Victoria Canavan

Head of Retail - Prospect Hospice

Love Mixing it Up

My team have become mini DJ’s as they love mixing up the music to suit the mood in the salon and the weather outside.

Nikki Froud

Nikki Froud Hairdressing

Love it!

Background Sounds is 100% perfect for my fitness business. Royalty-free playlists for every type of class, mood and energy level. From chilled out yoga to high energy techno! Love it 🙂

Soozi Kay

Soozi Kay Pole & Yoga

Summary – How Can I Play Music in My Business Legally?

Playing music legally in your business is essential if you want to avoid fines and possible legal action. Buying a PRS PPL is the traditional approach for playing copyrighted music. If you want a more cost-effective option, royalty-free music could be the best option for you.

Suggested Reading

Understanding the Difference Between PRS and PPL. A Beginners Guide – click here

Royalty-Free Music Customer Case Study – click here

Monthly New Music News – click here

Background Sounds is a specialist provider of royalty-free music. Working with small businesses looking to play music without the need to buy a PRS PPL Music Licence.

Access to the service is via online music streaming and is available with a subscription. You can find out all you need to know on our home page here.