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Charity and community

Do I need a licence?

If you, or people using your facilities, use music for the benefit of customers, visitors or staff, by law you need permission from the relevant copyright owners. But don’t worry, to get permission you simply need a licence from PRS for Music, and in most cases, one from PPL too.

Who are PRS for Music and PPL?

PRS for Music collects and distributes licence fees for the use of musical compositions and lyrics on behalf of songwriters, composers and music publishers. PPL collects and distributes licence fees for the use of recorded music on behalf of record companies and performers.

In most instances, a music licence is required from both organisations when you play recorded music in public. More information can be found here.

Who is responsible for arranging our music licences?

The proprietor of the premises is normally responsible for arranging the correct licences. So, if you own or manage your own premises you should contact us to arrange a licence if you, or anyone else, is using music in your premises.

If you are using someone else’s premises, for example if you hire a hall once a week or use a local authority’s premises, then the proprietor should arrange a licence to cover your music use. You should check with them that a licence is in place.

If you are running an event which is not in fixed premises, for example, in a park or in the street, you will probably be responsible for arranging your own PRS for Music licence to permit your music use.


How much does a PRS for Music licence cost?

A number of factors determine how much charities and community groups pay - these include your type of premises and the way you want to play music, for example background or live music.

We want charity and community groups to take advantage of the benefits music can bring and we want to ensure our charges are fair and reasonable. In some circumstances we decide to discount or not charge for the use of our music. For example, we don’t charge when music is used for divine worship or in premises such as hospices. Our charging policies are available here.

Below are some examples of music use in charity and community organisations where discounts or charging policies may apply:

Events run by charity and community groups - we offer a discount scheme for small charity and community events that meet certain conditions. We also offer guidelines for charging carnivals and parades. For more information please contact us.

Community buildings - we offer a joint licence with PPL for eligible community buildings, such as village halls, which are run by voluntary organisations. Buildings that are not eligible can be licensed separately by PRS for Music and PPL. Those responsible for running community buildings should visit our joint licensing page for more information or contact us directly.

Healthcare premises - we choose not to charge for some areas within hospitals and clinics that use music during treatment. Please see our policy here. Other healthcare premises such as GP and dental surgeries are not eligible for this policy. They should contact us directly or visit our health page for more information.

Religious buildings - we do not charge for music used in divine worship, wedding ceremonies, civil wedding and partnership ceremonies, funerals or in funeral homes.

Christian churches, church halls and Christian bookshops are licensed on our behalf through Christian Copyright Licensing International - Large ticketed events and any church that hosts more than six concerts or recitals per year should contact us directly - as should religious buildings of other denominations.

Members’ clubs and sports clubs – not-for-profit clubs that are run by committees (such as working men’s clubs, amateur sports clubs and political and social clubs) require a licence under our members' club tariff - Effective 1st August 2014 and should contact us directly for more information.

Schools - our tariff for primary and secondary schools includes music used by not-for-profit community groups with up to 40 audience members, at no extra charge to the school. If you are holding a larger event in a school please contact us directly. Please visit our educational establishments page for more information.

Further and higher education premises – we charge the host premises for all events separately. Please visit our universities page for more information.

Businesses and offices run by charities - our standard charges apply for these premises. Please visit the specific industry page on the left for more information.


How do I get a licence?

Call 0800 068 4828 to speak to our licensing team for a bespoke quote or to find out more. Lines are open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Alternatively, fill in your details here and we’ll contact you.


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.

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. 


Benefits of using music

According to MusicWorks research, playing music creates the right atmosphere for your visitors and helps motivate your staff.

Find out more about how music at work benefits your business 

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PLEASE NOTE: On 1 July 2013 the legal entity behind the PRS for Music brand changed its registered name from The MCPS-PRS Alliance Limited to PRS for Music Limited.