Online Live Concert royalties

The popularity of various online events has grown beyond all expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The songwriters, composers and publishers must be able to share in the benefits this change brings. A licence is needed if members are to receive any royalties.

What do you mean by an online live concert?

By ‘online live concert’, we mean a webcast of a performance to an online audience. Although we use the term 'concert' these can also include DJ sets as well as theatre and variety events.

How are online live concerts different from music streaming?

The term music streaming is generally used when recorded music is played online, often at the time and place chosen by the user. An online live concert happens at a specific time at a specific web location. It is possible that a recording of an online live concert is later made available on demand in which case it would be treated as a music stream. A ticketed event of a performance will be treated as an online live concert event if the performance is not live.

How is an online live concert different from a physical concert?

While there are many similarities, there are some very important differences.

A physical live concert needs a licence for the use of the performing rights for the public performance of the songs and compositions. An online live concert requires the performing right and the mechanical right.


To find out if you need a licence check out this image below:

How to find out what Online Live Concert licence you will need

View a larger version of this image

What types of online live concerts are licensed by PRS for Music?

We offer licences for UK-based gigs, DJ events, classical concerts and theatrical events online.

Will I need to get an Online Live Concert Licence for free live streams (so where no tickets were sold and no donations taken)? 

No, the Online Live Concert licence is not needed for non-ticketed, free events. The licence is only for ticketed events. 

What types of licences are available?

The type of licence needed will depend on a number of factors, specifically the size of the event and whether it is ticketed or made freely available.  

What licences are available for ticketed events?

For ticketed online live events staged in the UK with revenues below £500, we offer an online licence, which for a fixed licence fee (starting at £22.50 +VAT) provides all the necessary rights for small-scale events. This is available for gigs, DJ events, classical concerts and theatrical events.

We’re accelerating our ongoing discussions with key stakeholders on an interim reduced rate for large online concerts (over £500 revenue) over the coming weeks. We’re committed to agreeing an interim licensing approach (while the physical live sector is closed) for larger concerts as soon as possible in order to make these licences available.  For advice on ticketed online live concerts with revenues above £500, you can contact our Licensing team at

Would it apply to live streams where there was no ticket but the performer took donations?

Not if the donations are entirely voluntary. You only need a licence if you are required to make a donation to attend the event.

All the music I’m playing is mine, do I need a licence for a ticketed event? 

Members can obtain a free licence if:

  • They are wishing to perform an online ticketed live concert of exclusively their own works
  • They would receive all the royalties due, for example they do not have a publisher 
  • The individual concert qualifies for the small-scale licence, i.e. has revenues below £500
  • They are performing

Obtaining a free licence is important because it provides us with all the necessary information to register the event correctly. It‘s also essential that the licence is obtained by the member to whom all the royalties would normally be due, as a clear instruction from them to us not to collect royalties on their behalf for that event.

Where there are multiple members performing together, such as a band, and those members collectively would be due to receive all the royalties from the individual performance, each member will need to obtain their own free licence. We appreciate that this is additional work, but it’s needed to avoid any possible future claim for royalties by any other party against the event.   We have placed the application behind the member login to minimise the amount of information which needs to be collected and to make the application process as simple as possible.

While we are not collecting set lists for events covered by a free licence, although we will accept them if members think it useful for us to have them, members may want to retain a record of the event to evidence the works which were performed in case a claim should be made by another rightsholder in the future.

The free Online Live Concert licence is available throughout the period the live sector is forced to remain closed due to the COVID-19 crisis.

What licence is needed for non-ticketed events, such as on Facebook or YouTube?

Online live concerts that are non-ticketed still need to be licensed, however, there are some streaming services that allow artists to perform a live concert under the terms of their streaming licence. This means that some, or all, of the rights necessary may have been pre-cleared by the platform.

The following are examples of online platforms capable of live streaming, licensed and managed by our partner ICE: 

  • Facebook
  • Instagram (owned by Facebook) 
  • YouTube

The ICE licence does not cover all the rights represented by us. So, if your music is published, your rights may fall under deals arranged by your publisher instead. In all cases it is important that you comply with the terms of use and copyright requirement of any platform you use.  We would advise you check with your publisher as to the licensing position for the platform you intend to host your concert on.

What licence is needed for non-ticketed events on a non-licensed UK platform?

To host a non-ticketed online live concert on a platform that is not already licensed for live streaming (e.g. an artist’s own website), we offer the Limited Online Music Licence (LOML).  For those who meet the relevant criteria, the LOML can be purchased using the website and there are a range of different options depending on the size of the event.

Does a PRS licence only apply to performances in the UK? Or does it cover other countries too? 

The PRS licence is for small online concerts performed from the UK or from one of our overseas managed territories - Malta, Cyprus, Gibraltar, The Bahamas or Bermuda.

Will you be offering discount rates for online live concerts while physical events are suspended due to COVID-19?

We’re aware that due to the pandemic, online live streamed performances have become somewhat of a substitute for physical gigs and concerts. Because of this, we’re proposing to apply temporary discounted rates (for ticketed events with revenues above £500) until the live sector can open again. We’re in conversation with many major licensees and our Licensing Committee about this so keep an eye on your member newsfeed for updates.

Will you be pursuing licences for small-scale online live concerts held in 2020?

No, as the cost of proactively identifying and licensing these events would be greater than the value to members. Please be reassured, however, that the Licensing team are focused on ensuring events currently being staged are licensed correctly. 

If you’re hosting online live concerts with revenues above £500 during 2021, we are looking at discounted rates which we’ll update you on shortly. In the meantime, you should contact the licensing team at to discuss your options further.

We’re accelerating our ongoing discussions with key stakeholders on an interim reduced rate for large online concerts (over £500 revenue) over the coming weeks. We’re committed to agreeing an interim licensing approach (while the physical live sector is closed) for larger concerts as soon as possible in order to make these licences available.  .

Why launch a new online licence during a pandemic when artists cannot perform in the usual way?

As more and more artists, venues and promoters are using online concerts it has become more urgent that we provide the opportunity to get a licence. We have a duty to license the repertoire we represents, and our goal is to make it as simple as possible through the online portal.


Will I get paid if my music is performed in an online live concert?

When we are notified of works being used by a licensed online concert or by a licensed streaming service such as YouTube or Facebook we will be distributing in line with our standard distribution policy

How much will I be paid in royalties if it is licenced as an online live concert?

The amount you receive will depend on how many of your works are performed and their length.

When will I be paid?

Royalties will be paid out in line with our distribution policies. For those who meet our minimum payment threshold of £30, live streaming revenue is part of online payments which are paid out in our quarterly distributions.

Please note there will be a minimum of six months between your music being played and any royalties arriving in your bank account.

If there’s a large increase in online live concerts during the COVID-19 pandemic, does that mean I can expect a large increase in royalties?

Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee any significant increase. The amount of royalties we’ll pay out for live streaming that takes place over this period will depend on the data supplied to us, so it’s too early to tell what the impact will be. Check back on this page for future updates. 

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