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Theatre 

Whether you are part of production management, theatre management, an amateur dramatic society or an operatic society, as a theatre organiser you must ensure you have the correct licences in place to stage your events. A PRS for Music licence can give you the legal permission you need to play the songs you want.*

How can PRS for Music help me play music in a theatre?

  • Submitting programme and set list details guarantees an accurate assessment of your fees. You will only be charged for the music we control or that of our affiliated societies.
  • You can take advantage of the variable price mechanism based on a percentage of the copyright music as a proportion of the programme at classical music events. The rate must be applied for annually at the renewal of the licence.
  • You will have a hotline direct to music licensing specialists.

Watch our short animation video to learn more about what happens to your licence fee.

How are PRS for Music charges assessed?

We use over 40 tariffs to ensure suitable charges are applied. The tariffs which may relate to your live venue/concert are:

Many of our tariffs have been negotiated with national trade associations or representative bodies. In a few cases, PRS for Music tariffs have been set by the Copyright Tribunal. PRS for Music will apply the nearest equivalent wherever particular performances do not fit the exact scope of a standard tariff.

How do I get a licence?

We provide bespoke licences tailored to your needs. Please call
0345 300 6033 to speak to our team so that we can ensure we're providing the best value for you. Lines are open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Alternatively, fill in your details below and we'll contact you.

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Please let us know the nature of your query

Walk-on Walk-off music at stand-up comedy shows (theatres, arenas and similar premises)

PRS for Music has reduced the rate to be applied to stand-up comedy shows at theatres, arenas and similar premises where the only music is that used for the walk-on walk-off of comedians. Details available here.

What is the process for a theatre performance?

  • The theatre manager and producers are responsible for informing PRS for Music of the full details of the work(s) that are to be performed, including, the type of performance, duration, name, dates and venue.
  • PRS for Music will notify the licensee or applicants which of the works are to be covered by a music licence alongside the royalty rate applicable.
  • Programme and set list forms can be submitted electronically (or posted), for all live performances of music under the relevant PRS for Music public performance tariff.

How can I use Interpolated music in my performance?

  • 30 days is needed to ensure clearance has been granted in time for the performance. Any performance of interpolated music* could constitute a copyright infringement and may result in the copyright owner taking legal action.

*Interpolated music is pre-existing music (i.e. not specially written for the presentation) that is either performed by, or audible to, a character or characters in a dramatic presentation**. It exists within the dramatic world portrayed in the presentation.

**A dramatic presentation is a characterised drama on the live stage.

 

Are there any circumstances where I may not need a licence?

  • If the theatre venue already has a PRS for Music licence, the production organiser does not need to apply personally. However, they may need to provide information to the venue so the appropriate fee can be assessed.
  • We do not control dramatico-musical works. Permission must be sought direct from the publisher or other copyright owner.
  • PRS for Music does not seek to charge for music used at a recognised Service of Divine Worship in consecrated places of worship.
  • PRS for Music has a number of discretionary charging policies which define circumstances in which we choose not to make a charge for our licence.  

*PRS for Music licences cover the majority of music originating from the UK and all over the world. However, if you play music outside of PRS for Music’s control, you may need an additional licence from the relevant copyright owner(s). You will also require a TV licence if you are using a TV in your premises. In the unlikely event that all the music you play is out of copyright or is not controlled by PRS for Music, you do not need a PRS for Music licence. In some cases you may also require a licence from PPL. PPL collects and distributes royalties on behalf of record companies and performers. Further info at ppluk.com. All music licences are required under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. It stipulates you must gain the permission of the copyright owner if you play music in public (anywhere outside the home environment).

Theatres booklet

Theatre, Variety & Concerts booklet

A booklet to explain, in simple terms, the music licensing requirements at your theatre.

Download the booklet

 
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