What is a Music Licence and do I need a Music Licence? Your questions answered

For many business owners, the first time they hear about the Music Licence is when they receive an invoice through the post or receive a phone call asking if they are playing music. The result is often a large and unexpected bill.

What is a Music Licence?

A Music Licence grants you permission to play music in your business on behalf of the copyright holders. The licence ensures that the owners (copyright holders) of the music are compensated for the use of thier work.

This applies whether you’re playing music in your business via radio, TV, CD, or digital device. If it’s played just for your staff and/or your customers. Source www.gov.uk

Licensing in the UK is operated by the PRS (PRS for Music Limited) and the PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited). Together they collect and distribute royalties on behalf of the copyright holders for the use of their music. They do this through issuing the Music Licence.

Do I need a Music Licence?

Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 you need permission from the copyright holder to perform (play) their music in public. If the music you’re playing can be heard by your staff and/or customers it is considered a public performance of the copywritten work. This means you require a licence.

There are exceptions and alternatives to paying for the licence. Playing royalty free music in your business does not require you to hold a Music Licence. You’re able to do this legally as the PRS PPL agencies do not collect the royalties for this music. You can read more about royalty free music here What music can I play without a licence?

How much does a licence cost?

The cost varies depending upon the type of business you operate and the size of the audible area. The total amount of your licence is the combined total of two tariffs PRS and PPL. The PRS collects royalties for the writers of the music and the PPL collects royalties for the performers.

Example for shops, stores and showrooms

This example calculation is based on the lowest tariff charges/smallest square meter audible area.

Music Licence cost calculator

PPL Tariff (audible area of 1-600 sq meters) £147.91 (+vat) per annum.

PRS Tariff (audible area up to 100 sq meters) £180.90 (+vat) per annum.

Combined license cost £328.81 (+vat)*

*Figures correct at time of publishing content and for example purposes only

Interested in how much your PRS PPL Music Licence will cost and how much you could save with our service? We put together a handy cost comparison calculator to do just that!

About us

Background Sounds is a specialist royalty free music provider dedicated to proving the very best royalty free tunes and making background music easy. Building playlists so when it comes to your music you can simply select the best suited for your business and go!

A music subscription with us gives you

  • A legal way to play music in your business Music Licence
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  • Flexible subscription with cancel anytime monthly option

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Need a little more guidance or have questions? Email info@backgroundsounds.co.uk