Music is played across many types of businesses to create a desired atmosphere, entertain customers, put people at ease and much more. But what a lot of businesses don’t realise, is that they must obtain the necessary licenses to do so legally. The following information is specific to UK businesses.
Do I need a music license?
If you’re reading this, you probably do.
You’ll usually need to get a Public Performance License if you:
- Play recorded music in public or at your business (including background music on a CD, radio or music channel).
- Stage live music events in public (for example, a concert or festival).
- Play live music or recorded music in a theatre.
- Use sound recordings in a theatrical production (including on-stage and off-stage effects).
This obviously covers basically every retail and hospitality business. Music is so important to creating the perfect atmosphere, so it’s only fair that we follow the rules and make sure money is going to the artists. You could also be sued for copyright infringement if you don’t.
If you’re in the UK, you can contact PPL PRS to check if you need a license, or check out their sector page for information more specific to your business type.
What music license do I need?
Previously, businesses and organisations in the UK had to obtain separate Public Performance Licenses from PPL and PRS for Music. However, they’ve created a Joint Venture called PPL PRS Ltd and launched TheMusicLicense. It’s now one contract, one invoice, and one license, to make it even easier to follow.
How much is a music license?
How much your license will cost depends on a few factors, like the size and type of venue you’re looking to play the music in, and how the music is used.
Your best bet is to contact PPL PRS to get a quote, but below are some example costs for different sectors.
Why is music licensing important?
If you’re a retail and hospitality venue, you’re ultimately gaining from the music by providing a better experience for customers. If you’re a venue that doesn’t generally receive visits from customers, such as office environments, your employees are still considered “the public”, so it’s still an infringement of copyright to play music without a Public Performance License in place.
PPL distributes the music royalties for the use of recorded music on behalf of record companies and performers, representing the rights of over 130,000 performers and recording rightsholders, while PRS for Music distributes music license fees for the use of musical compositions and lyrics on behalf of over 160,000 songwriters, composers and publishers.
The licenses ensure that the people who create music are fairly rewarded for their talent and hard work to produce the amazing music we all enjoy and benefit from.
Why can’t I just use Spotify?
Once you have TheMusicLicense in place, you can play pretty much any commercial music in your venue all day long.
But there’s one thing to remember - music streaming services are only intended for consumer use - not for businesses. Using these platforms in a business is a breach of their terms, as they are not licensed for business use. Therefore, while broadcasting a homemade playlist through a sound system may feel like an easy option, this is illegal too.
Music licensing around the world
Not all of our customers are based in the UK, so here’s a breakdown of some of the other public licenses you need around the world.
That's why we're here.
With a professional background music subscription to a business service such as Startle Music, and your Public Performance Licenses in place, you’ll be playing music legally. You’ll also be protecting the rights of songwriters, composers and publishers for the use of their music.
A subscription of this type is a safe and simple way to not only ensure that you are legally compliant, but to benefit from better quality, more function, data capture and marketing opportunities over the equivalent consumer services.
In order to secure a high-quality, legal music system for your business, do your research and decide on what it is you want to achieve with your background music - this will help you to find the right solution for your brand.
Whatever your chosen music solution, when all of the necessary rights are properly taken care of, you can enjoy fully legal music and entertain customers in your venue without the worry of a visit from a licensing organisation.
Hey, we've just met you and this is crazy. But here's our number +44 (0)203 397 7676. So, call us maybe? Or get in touch here.