Small workplaces joint licence

Do you manage a factory, office or garage with four or fewer employees?

If so, then you may have received a letter from PRS for Music and PPL introducing the new joint music licence for factories, offices and garages with four or fewer employees where music is not audible to customers, visitors or guests.

What has happened?

PRS for Music and PPL are committed to simplifying music licensing for customers. As a result of this, both organisations have come together to offer a new joint music licence for small workplaces. This joint music licence builds on the successful introduction of a joint music licence for Community Buildings in 2012. The joint music licence, provides a simple solution to gain the permission you need to play music in your business.

How will this happen?

PRS for Music will act as an agent for PPL, issuing the new joint music licence that grants you the permission you need from both organisations to play recorded music.

Eligible businesses will fall into the following categories and can obtain their joint music licence from the following dates:

  • new customers of both PRS for Music and PPL can obtain their joint music licence by calling 0345 140 0090.
  • existing customers of either PRS for Music or PPL can obtain the joint music licence on the date of their next annual renewal.
  • existing customers of both PRS for Music and PPL will be contacted by PRS for Music when their existing PRS for Music or PPL licence is due for renewal, whichever is earliest, to confirm if they are eligible for the joint licence. If a business is eligible for the new joint music licence, PRS for Music will wait until the later of the two renewal dates and issue a joint music licence from the later date for the forthcoming year. This will include any outstanding payment from the licence that was due for renewal first.

For example, if the PRS for Music licence is due for renewal in January 2014 and the PPL licence is due for renewal in March 2014, PRS for Music will contact the customer in January to check if their business is eligible for the new joint music licence and if so, will issue the new joint music licence in March. The invoice will include an additional one-off fee to cover the two month period between the expiry date of the PRS for Music licence and the start of the joint music licence.

What if I do not have a PRS for Music licence prior to taking the new joint music licence?

PRS for Music’s current policy is that it does not charge small workplaces for music use prior to purchasing a PRS for Musiclicence.

What if I do not have a PPL licence prior to taking the new joint music licence?

PPL’s current policy is that it does charge customers for recorded music use prior to purchasing a PPL licence. PPL charges will begin from the tariff launch date - 1 December 2013

What will happen next if I am an existing customer of PRS for Music and/or PPL?

PRS for Music will send you a pack containing the following information:

  • A letter about the joint music licence and how it will affect you
  • Two copies of a form to assess your eligibility for the new joint music licence - one to complete and send back to us and another for your records
  • A specimen copy of the joint music licence contract for your information.

Once you complete your form and send it back to us, if you are eligible your existing licence will be converted to the new joint music licence for small workplaces. If you are not eligible for the joint music licence you will require separate PRS for Music and PPL licences, please call us to discuss.

If you have received a letter and would like confirmation as to whether or not you are eligible for the new joint music licence please contact us.

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us on 0345 140 0090.

The joint music licence will be available to customers with a premises that is a factory, office or garage with four or fewer employees and where music is not audible (via TV, radio, CD or otherwise) to customers, visitors or guests.

Premises where the music is audible to customers, visitors, guests, or where there is activity such as live music, are not eligible for the joint licence.

Customers that are not eligible for the joint music licence may require separate PRS for Music and PPL licences. 

In 2009, PRS for Music reduced their rates for factories, offices and garages with four or fewer employees, in response to feedback from small businesses. Since then PPL has also chosen to reduce their rate to complement the PRS for Music rate, allowing us to offer this fair and simple joint licence.

The joint music licence will be administered by PRS for Music, acting on behalf of itself and PPL. As part of the joint music licensing arrangements PRS for Music will pass your contact details to PPL, but PRS for Music will be your point of contact for any queries or changes regarding your licence. Similarly, you will only need to make a single payment of fees to PRS for Music to cover the joint music licence.

Copyright law exists to protect music in different ways. Businesses and organisations that play music in public will often require a licence from both PRS for Music and PPL. PRS for Music collects and distributes fees for the use of musical compositions (including lyrics) on behalf of songwriters, composers and music publishers. PPL collects and distributes fees for the use of recorded music on behalf of record companies and performers.

If you are currently only licensed by either PRS for Music or PPL, your joint music licence will start from the renewal date of that licence.

If you are licensed by both PRS for Music and PPL, PRS for Music will contact you when your existing PRS for Music or PPL licence is due for renewal, (whichever is earliest) to confirm if you are eligible for the joint music licence. If your business is eligible for the new joint music licence, we will wait until the later of the two renewal dates and issue a joint music licence from the later date for the forthcoming year. This will include any outstanding payment from the licence that was due for renewal first. 

For example, if your PRS for Music licence is due for renewal in January 2014 and your PPL licence is due for renewal in March 2014, we will contact you in January to check if your business is eligible for the new joint music licence and if so, we will issue your new joint music licence in March. Your invoice will include an additional one-off fee to cover the two month period between the expiry date of your PRS for Music licence and the start of your joint licence.

PPL has introduced a new rate for small workplaces to match the PRS for Music rate. As from 1st March 2017 this means the charge for the small workplaces joint music licence is £94+VAT.

We have chosen to provide a joint music licence to factories, offices or garages with four or fewer employees as a step in our work towards simplifying music licensing for businesses. The move builds upon our successful joint music licence for community buildings and comes in response to feedback from businesses, their representatives and government.

The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 states that playing music in public requires the permission of the copyright owner. Playing music in public (also referred to as public performance) has a wide legal meaning covering the playing of music outside domestic life. It therefore includes the use of recorded music in small workplaces. This music can be played through any means, e.g. CD, MP3, radio or TV.

A PRS for Music licence and a PPL licence provide you with the permission you need to play the music we license, covering the vast majority of music used in the UK.

To help simplify music licensing, we will offer a joint music licence administered by PRS for Music, on behalf of itself and PPL, allowing you (subject to eligibility) to obtain the permission to play recorded music in your business in one licence.

N.B. Our licences may not be needed if the music you use is out of copyright or in the unlikely event it is not controlled by PRS for Music and/or PPL. A PPL licence will not be required if you only feature live bands. However, a PRS for Music licence will still be required, e.g. if you have a live band in your canteen for social events.