How To: Apply For Your Music License

18 Sep 2015

Nowadays entertaining the public is not as easy as putting on the radio or shoving your iPod into a set of speakers. If you want to play other people’s music then you’re going to need to apply for a license to do so. There are three slightly different categories you need to consider when applying for your license which are called the PRS for Music, the PPL and the Entertainment License. If you’re feeling a little confused, let us break it down for you.

PRS for Music

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This license is in reference to the performance of live music. The likes of festivals, theatres, concert venues and even universities all need to attain one of these. To apply, you must provide a programme and setlist so the fees required can be assessed. These are not set fees and are all dependent on each individual application. Although there are a couple of forms to fill in it’s pretty straightforward as long as you’re open and honest about everything that is going to be performed. You can apply online here.

Entertainment License

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An Entertainment License is needed for all public activity that is intended to entertain guests such as a club night, a film screening or a sporting game. It’s a good idea to read this bit of information carefully in case there is a chance that you don’t need to apply for a license. If you plan on having entertainment between 8am-11pm or you have already attained an alcohol license or you’re applying on behalf of places of public worship, schools or hospitals then lucky you because you don’t need a license! Venues that will almost definitely need a license are nightclubs, music venues, cinemas, large theatres, large indoors sporting arenas, large street and open air festivals, film screenings to name a few.

Brace yourself because there are more details to consider. You definitely need a license if you are hosting entertainment in one of the above venues and it will occur between 11pm and 8am. You’ll need a license also if the live music or live performance (this includes dances) is to be performed to more than 500 people or if it is at a live sporting event that will be seen by more than a thousand people. To attain this license, contact your local council for further guidance and application forms.

PPL for Music

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You may think that playing background music in your coffee shop or bar etc is completely okay, but you could be infringing copyright. You may need to apply for a Phonographic Performance Ltd or a PPL if you wish to play recorded music in public whether that’s via the radio, a CD or a music channel on your business premises. Places that will require it include shops, hairdressers, cafes, bars, social clubs and a whole handful of other places (complete list on the government's website) If you don’t have one and you play music that isn’t yours then you could be sued for damages. This is a harsh punishment so it’s best to cover you back in case. The cost and time it takes to process an application depends on each individual case. Try to to apply here as soon as possible to reduce the chance of any delays.

It is also worth noting that employees count as members of the public so you need one for your office too. Now you know all there is to know about attaining a music license, you and your guests or customers can listen to your favourite tracks without the worry of getting caught. If you’re in need of a bit of inspiration, check out Appear Here’s Spotify account for great playlists to play in store.