Northern Ireland Tourist Board

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Music licences

You are required by law to have a music licence if you play music in your business.

Businesses and organisations will now be covered by TheMusicLicence for the use of the vast majority of commercially released music available – millions of songs and recordings, including the most popular and well-loved music, not just from the UK but from around the world.

PPL and PRS for Music will continue to set their own tariffs and distribute the fees collected by PPL PRS to their respective members - performers and record companies for PPL and the songwriters, composers and publishers for PRS for Music. This income is important to individuals and companies within UK music industry; it supports the future of new music and helps to enable people to make a living out of writing, playing and performing music. 

To play music in a public place without a licence is infringing Copyright Laws.  PPL PRS could then bring proceedings under the Copyright Design and Patents Act 1988 if the licence fee is not paid and music continues to be played.  

Music legislation and tourist accommodation premises

If tourist accommodation providers play music in their premises where it can be heard by members of the public and they do not hold a music licence, then they could be in breach of the legislation. The proprietors may be subject to legal proceedings if they do not pay the licence fee. The options available to the Proprietors are that they either pay the licence fee or do not play music on their tourist accommodation premises. 

Charging policy for small B&Bs and single-unit Self-Catering businesses

PRS for Music has a discretionary charging policy which waives music licence charges for tourist accommodation businesses meeting all of the following criteria:

  • The premises has 3 guest bedrooms or fewer
  • The premises is the sole holiday accommodation business operated or owned by the proprietors
  • The premises is also the domestic residence of the proprietor
  • The premises is not licensed for the sale of alcohol (by the local authority)
  • Facilities are only available to resident guests

This policy also applies to small B&Bs with three guest bedrooms or fewer as well as single unit self catering businesses with three bedrooms or fewer.  For more information visit the PRS For Music website.

More Information

For more information on how to obtain a music licence visit the PPL PRS website or telephone 0800 0720 808.