Are you a business owner in the UK looking to add music to your space and not sure about the price list? If so, you'll have to obtain a license in order to do so legally. There are two types of licenses that are needed for businesses: PRS and PPL. Both licenses are for background music use and come with various costs that are based on business categories.
Table of contents:
- Who needs license
- Is it a legal requirement
- What if I play without a license
- How much music licence cost
- Tips how to get the best value for money
- Frequently asked questions
- List of music license companies
What's a music licence UK?
A music licence [Designs and Patents Act 1988] is a type of legal permit that businesses and other organisations in the UK must obtain in order to legally play copyrighted music on their premises. This includes playing music at events or venues, as well as in retail stores and restaurants.
What's PPL PRS?
PPL PRS Ltd is a joint music licensing company that offers businesses the ability to obtain two different types of licenses for playing recorded music on their premises.
PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd)
Is responsible for collecting and distributing fees to performers, musicians, and record labels for the public performance of their copyrighted music.
PRS (Performing Right Society)
Issues licenses to businesses that play and broadcast copyrighted music. This includes playing royalty-free music, stage live music events or pre-recorded music at venues, as well as in restaurants, bars, and retail stores.
Why do I need a license?
You'll need a license to play copyrighted music because it is against the law to use that music without permission from the rightful owner (usually the artist or record label). Obtaining a license ensures that the artist or record label gets paid for their work and that you can use the music without facing legal action.
Who needs a licence to play live or recorded music in public?
- offices and factories
- hairdressers and beauty salons
- cinemas and theatres
- hotels and guesthouses
- restaurants and cafes
- pubs, bars and nightclubs
- sports grounds and other sporting facilities (such as bowling alleys)
- gyms and other health facilities
- bingo halls and casinos
- social clubs and members’ clubs
- churches and halls
- public transport
Is it a legal requirement to have a music licence?
Yes, it is illegal to play copyrighted music in public spaces without a licences. It is important to remember that even if you own the CD/Playlist or you've downloaded the songs, you still must own a licence in order to use them publicly.
What happens if you play music without a license?
If you are caught playing copyrighted music in public spaces without a licence, you could be fined or even prosecuted. The fines for playing copyrighted music without permission can range from £100 to £1000+, so it is important to make sure that you have the correct paperwork in place before using any music.
How much is a music Licence UK?
The cost of a music licence will depend on the type of organisation and how the music is used. Generally speaking, PRS for Music licenses start from around £100 per year, while PPL licenses can cost up to £350 per year depending on your business type and size. View all music tariffs on the PPLPRS website sorted by categories and niches.
How to play recorded music for Free?
You can play music in public for free if you are using copyright-free music or music that is covered by Creative Commons Licenses. There are many websites and services where you can find royalty-free music. Be sure to read the terms and conditions of any license carefully before using the content.
5 Tips how to get the best value for money
When it comes to licensing music for business use, the key is in finding the best value for money. To help ensure you get the most bang for your buck, here are five tips:
1. Look for libraries that offer broad rights and allow unlimited commercial usage – it may be a bit more expensive upfront but will save you from paying additional fees or royalties down the line
2. Consider buying multiple licenses if you need to use a variety of music across several venues or locations
3. Look at any potential hidden costs before committing to a library
4. Negotiate with the library provider to include multiple tracks and add-ons in one package – can save on per-track fees
5. Check online platforms such as Altaura and SoundTrack which create music playlists and play royalty-free music at an affordable cost
FAQ - Recap How to Play Music in the UK
=> Do I need a music license for my business?
Doing business in the music industry within the United Kingdom requires a license from the Performing Rights Society (PRS). This is to ensure UK businesses are legally compliant and can play recorded music on their premises.
=> How do you license music in the UK?
You will have to provide details such as what type of establishment you run, how many employees you have, and how much music you intend to play. Depending on your individual circumstances, different rates may apply.
=> What about music for a one-off event?
If you are looking to play for a one-off event, such as a wedding reception, DJ night or a private party, you still need a music licence. They do have a Specially Featured Entertainment (SFE) tariff for this type of event.
=> Can I play music in my shop without a license?
It is illegal to play music in your shop without a license.
=> What's the fine for playing without a licence?
If you are found to be playing copyrighted music in public spaces without a licence, you could face fines of up to £5,000 for each infringement. Also, remember that even if you own the CD or download the songs being played, you still need a licence in order to use them publicly.
=> How much is a music license for a cafe?
Depend on a variety of factors but suppose you play music in a cafe measuring less than 100 square metres. The combined yearly music licence for your shop would be around £300+VAT.
=> How much is a PRS Licence UK?
The cost of a PRS Licence UK varies according to the type of establishment, number of people employed and level of music used within the premises.
What music can I play without a Licence UK?
=> How do I get my songs licensed?
In order to get your songs licensed in the UK, you will need to become a member of the PPL PRS. Membership is open to composers, music publishers and producers. You can submit an application online, through their website or in person at their London office.
List of the most popular music licensing companies
British music lovers have plenty of options when it comes to licensing music for their favourite tracks, as there are numerous reputable music streaming platform that offer quality streaming service.
Some of the most popular and successful music licensing providers:
- Universal Production Music
- Broadcast Music Inc
All of these companies provide access to a library with a vast array of copyright-cleared tunes for all types of media projects – from feature films to online videos and video games.
Licensing or perform music for business in the UK can be a complex process, but with the right approach, it doesn’t have to be daunting. By following our five tips on how to get the best value for money and familiarizing yourself with PRS regulations you will soon find that obtaining licenses is easier than ever before.
Remember, playing copyrighted music from a music channel without a license could result in hefty fines so make sure you always check your sources thoroughly before using any content.
At Altaura, we offer a range of royalty-free music that you can play in multiple venues and locations without fear of copyright infringement. Contact us today for more information about our music strategy and music curation services.