How can I play music in my business legally

Female worker with blue hair looking for music on her laptop

It may seem harmless to listen to the radio in your shop or office, or to listen to your favourite Spotify playlist while you work.

Listening to such music on a 'personal use' basis, through headphones, is completely legal in the workplace. Anyone can listen to their own music in this way.

But playing such music through speakers to your employees - or to the public - in a work environment is illegal unless you have the appropriate licence.

Music licensing - TheMusicLicence

Getting a music licence is pretty straightforward. You can apply online.

TheMusicLicence from PPL PRS allows a business or organisation to legally play music for employees or customers through the radio, TV or other digital devices (including hold music on phone systems). It also covers live performances of music.

The licence ensures songwriters, composers and publishers get paid - as they own the copyright to the music. PPL PRS is the organisation that collects the licence fees. It operates on behalf of its two parent companies, PPL and PRS for Music, which then distribute these royalty fees back to the copyright owners.

There are special licensing tariffs for different types of business and different types of activity. For example, a mobile DJ, a workshop, a pub, a karaoke bar and a taxi all use music differently. A DJ might only work in premises that already hold the appropriate licences.

Without a licence, you are infringing copyright if you play live or recorded music in public.

If you're in any doubt whether or not you need a music licence contact PPL PRS for advice, explaining exactly what you'll be doing and where you'll be doing it.

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