FAQs music licensing
Music always livens up a PTA event, but how can you make sure
you're playing it legally? We spoke to PPL PRS to find out about
When do we need a music licence, and what does it cover?
If you're playing background music in schools and colleges for
extra-curricular or entertainment activities, you'll usually need
TheMusicLicence. It allows you to legally play all types of music
for employees, children or visitors at your school through the
radio, TV, other digital devices and live performances.
It means you don't have to spend your time and energy contacting
potentially hundreds of thousands of rightsholders individually to
get permission to play or perform their music in your business.
But don't we need a PPL and PRS for Music licence?
Previously, organisations had to obtain separate music licences
from PPL and PRS for Music. However, they have now come together to
form PPL PRS Ltd and launch TheMusicLicence.
TheMusicLicence is issued by PPL PRS and gives you permission to
play and perform music that is subject to The Copyright, Designs
and Patents Act 1988. Different events and scenarios may need
either PPL tariffs, PRS for Music tariffs, or both to be included
PPL PRS collects licence royalties from UK businesses and
organisations on behalf of their parent companies, PPL and PRS for
Music. PPL then distributes these music licence royalties for the
use of recorded music on behalf of record companies and performers,
while PRS for Music distributes music licence royalties for the use
of musical compositions and lyrics on behalf of songwriters,
composers and publishers.
Do we get the licence from our local council?
No, most schools should already have TheMusicLicence for their
premises, issued to them through CEFM (Centre for Education and
Finance Management). This covers the music usage for their
non-curricular activities: for example, school theatre productions,
race nights, festivals, fundraisers, PTA events, parties and fetes,
provided all profits made during these events go entirely to the
How long is TheMusicLicence valid for?
The music licence issued to schools through the CEFM is a
rolling licence. This ensures all schools are continuously licensed
for their music usage. However, if the school is hosting
one-off/single/casual events with music, PPL PRS can arrange for
TheMusicLicence that will cover the duration of that event.
Will we need TheMusicLicence if our venue already has one?
If a school is hosting an event, any use of music by a PTA will
usually be covered under the licence issued from CEFM, provided all
profits made during this event go entirely to the school.
For events taking place in other venues away from the school,
such as village halls and community buildings, it is the
responsibility of the venue to ensure that it is correctly licensed
for its music usage.
How much will it cost and who should apply?
The cost of TheMusicLicence depends on a number of factors, such
as the type of activity and how you use music in your day-to-day
operation. There are different tariffs available, which vary
according to the different types of music use. It is the
responsibility of the school or venue to ensure that the premises
is correctly licensed.
Are there any situations when we wouldn't need a music
TheMusicLicence covers virtually all commercially released music
available - millions of songs and recordings, not just from the UK,
but from around the world. However, if you play or perform music
outside of PRS for Music's or PPL's repertoire then you may need an
additional licence or permission from the relevant copyright
Are other licences needed for an event featuring music?
In addition to TheMusicLicence, you may also need a temporary
event notice or a premises licence for an event. This is issued by
your local authority and gives you permission to provide
entertainment on your premises. It may be subject to certain
conditions, such as time restrictions or the number of people
attending. For more information, visit gov.uk/temporary-events-notice.
For more guidance, visit pplprs.co.uk or call 0800 0720808. Always
contact PPL PRS if you are unsure about whether you need
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