Skip To The Main Content

Music Licensing: What you need to know

Running a small business requires constant attention. Even when everything ticks along nicely, there are things you need to think about or finally get to grips with.

One of these things might be working out once and for all if you need a licence to play music. You may have heard the terms PPl and PRS licences bandied about, and if you’re wondering whether the law applies to you, here’s our quick overview of what they are, when you need them and how to apply.

It may sound a little complicated, but the bare basics of it is that if you play recorded music in a public place like your business premises, you are likely to need a PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd) licence and, in most cases, also a PRS for Music licence.

Music Licensing: What you need to know


What is it and do I need it?

PPL collects royalties on behalf of performers and record companies. If you play music on your premises, whether on a radio or disc, a tv or on your phone system, in most cases you will need this licence.

How do I get one and how much does it cost?

You can apply online at the PPL website.

Costs vary depending on type of business, the size of the premises, how the music is used and the type of social activity the music is used for.


PRS for Music collects royalties on behalf of songwriters, composers and publishers. If you play music in public in your business, you will likely need this licence.

How do I get one and how much does it cost?

You can apply for this licence online at the PRS website

Costs vary depending on the type of business.

Do I need both?

In almost all cases you will need a PPL and PRS license due to the difference in who the money is collected for.

Both websites have more information on when the licences are needed, how much they cost.

Remember, if you are an FSB member, you have access to our legal advice helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you need guidance or advice on this or any other legal, tax or employment matter, give us a ring and our team of experts will be happy to point you in the right direction and make sure you’re legally compliant.

Legal Protection Scheme from FSB

Legal protection covers various scenarios and ensures you and your business are covered

Find out more