UPDATED with 2024 pricing

Running a small shop comes with its fair share of expenses, from rent and rates to stock and staff.  One cost that often goes overlooked is the requirement for a music license if you choose to play copyrighted music in your shop. 

Music is a great way to create ambience and enhance the shopping experience for your customers.  However, it’s essential to understand the costs associated with obtaining the proper license and what other options you have when it comes to background music in your shop. 

In this post, we’ll go into…

Why you need a music licence to play music in a shop 

What dictates the cost of a music licence?

How much a music license is for a small shop 

Where to buy a Music Licence 

The alternative to paying for a music licence

Why You Need a Music Licence to Play Music in Your Shop

When you play copyrighted music in your shop you’re using someone else’s creative work to enhance your business. Just as you would compensate an employee for their services, musicians and music publishers deserve compensation for their artistry.

A music license grants you legal permission to play copyrighted music in your shop without infringing upon copyright law. This license ensures that artists receive fair compensation for their work and helps support the creative industry as a whole.

The music licence is issued by PRS and PPL who together operate TheMusicLicence.  If you want to play copyrighted music in your shop you need this licence.

The only way you can play music without paying PRS PPL for a music licence is when you play royalty-free music. 

What Dictates The Cost of a Music Licence?

The main factor in how much you will pay for a shop music licence is the audible area.  Measured in square meters (m2).   It’s classed as the wall-to-wall audible area where both staff and customers can hear the music.  This includes toilets, back offices and store rooms. 

The larger the audible area of your shop, the more you will pay for your music licence. 

Small shop owner

How Much Is A Music Licence For A Small Shop?

Music Licence Cost For a Small Shop – Up to 100 m2 Audible Area

To work out the cost of a music licence for your shop, you need to combine two tariffs, one from PRS and the other from PPL.  

If you host live music performances or events featuring copyrighted music, you will need a separate licence for those events. 

cost of small shop music licence

Calculation -Standard Rate: Up to 100 m2

PRS Tariff Charge £223.80 – see tariff

PPL Tariff Charge £190.26 – see tariff

The Cost of a PRS PPL Music Licence in 2024 for a Small Shop is £414.06 + VAT (you would save £264.06 swapping to Background Sounds)

(small shop = audible area up to 100m2)

Click here if your shop is under 50m2

*calculation based on tariffs correct as of 18th January 2024

Important Notice – Surcharge Cost

If you have been playing commercial music without a music license your first invoice will be charged at a higher rate which includes a surcharge,  this is the standard license rate plus 50%. Using the example above this would mean your cost would be £621.04 +VAT (approx)

You can use any method you want to play your commercial music (TV, CD, radio or digital service) once you have purchased a music license from PRS PPL. 

Concessionary Discount for Shops – audible area below 50m2

If you have a shop under 50m2 you may be granted a concessionary discount from PRS and PPL.  However there are strict criteria for this discount, they are: 

▶️ The audible area must be 50m2 or less

▶️ You can only play music via a traditional portable radio. Playing only BBC national and local radio stations. Or independent stations listed by Ofcom as AM or FM stations

▶️ Use a TV (up to 26 inches) with integrated speakers and only broadcast BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, Channel 4, S4C and Channel 5.

▶️ No other means to play audio can be used in your shop (e.g CD, digital service)

Obtaining a Music License to Play Copyrighted Music 

If you want to play commercial music in your business (UK-based) the only company you can purchase a music licence from is PRS PPL.  They collectively operate and issue TheMusicLicence. 

Payment is for the year upfront and the tariff sums are adjusted in line with inflation every year.

Be Aware of Automatic Annual Renewal

Expect your Music licence to have an automatic annual renewal.  Cancellation of a music license requires written notice a minimum of one month before the end of the contract. 

Alternative to Music Licence for a Small Shop

Royalty-free music, also known as licence-free music is music you can play in any business without a PRS PPL Music licence. This is because PRS and PPL do not collect royalties for the artists.  Instead, they are paid via a music licensing company. 

Background Sounds is a specialist provider of royalty-free music, supplying businesses across the UK with access to an array of royalty-free playlists. 

A yearly subscription to Background Sounds costs £150 + VAT with a monthly payment option available for those wanting the flexibility to cancel anytime. 

Discover how you can avoid licensing fees altogether with a subscription to Background Sounds royalty-free music service here. 

Conclusion: How Much is a Music Licence For a Small Shop?

Playing music in a shop is a great way to create an ambience and enhance customer experience.  If you play commercial music in your shop you will need to buy a music licence from PRS PPL. The cost of a small shop with an audible area of up to 100m2 is £414.06 + VAT. A concessionary discount may be possible but this has several restrictions. 

For those small shop owners who do not want to pay for a music licence but still want to play music royalty-free music is a good option to explore.

About Us

Background Sounds is a specialist provider of royalty-free music. That’s music you can play without a PRS PPL Music Licence. We supply businesses across the UK with background music at a fraction of the cost of a 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.