How to Start a MUSIC License

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Overview of Music License

We often plan for some outings and dinner with family and friends to have a fun evening. Besides a break from the monotonous routine, it also provides us the chance just to relax and unwind in a good and soothing ambiance. What adds to a perfect ambiance is music.

Someone has rightly said that music is the food for the soul. Music assists us in getting unwind and is also a great stress buster. However, many of us are still not aware that every establishment or a person who wants to use any pre-recorded music for some non-personal reasons first needs to get a Music License.

Hence, playing music in public places, whether it is a Café, Restaurant, Hotel, Bar, Pubs, or other places, needs permission in the form of a Music License. Obtaining Music License is compulsory for these places before they start to play, perform, etc. at public places. The same is done to give credit to all the hard work done by the people like singers, composers, songwriters, etc. and also to protect and safeguard their rights.

What is a Music License?

According to the Copyright Act, 1957, the term musical work means a work comprising of music and also includes any graphical notation of such work. However, it does not include any action or words intended to be spoken, sung, or performed with the music.

Therefore, a Music License is needed for authorizing, authenticating and protecting such musical work. An individual is required to obtain a music license whenever he or she plays or performs a musical work at a public place or for some business purpose.

Music is an intellectual property of the owner and purchasing a CD or DVD doesn't give us the right to use it anywhere in public. If anyone wants to use it for the public purpose, either in the background or in a live performance, they must get a music license.

Why is there a need to obtain Music License?

When an individual is running a business such as a shop, restaurant, bar, etc. and is either playing the pre-recorded songs or planning to play music. The concerned owner of the individual is required to get a PPL along with the PRS for Music License.

What is the significance of a Music License?

As we know, that creating music is not at all an easy task. The same requires both a lot of effort and time from the singers, lyricists, and producers as everyone plays their significant part in creating music. Hence, we need to obtain a music license to protect the IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) of the people.

Moreover, this license also assists the applicant, as he or she is just required to apply for a single license. It means no separate permission or license is needed from other authorities. Music License helps the music owner or the concerned artist to keep a check and be vigilant about their music.

What is IPRS?

IPRS is the abbreviated form for the Indian Performing Right Societies. It is an organization that governs and regulates the copyrighted work of an artist by offering them royalties to use their creations. Further, the members of IPRS are given fees received from the customers of IPRS. However, the same is given after deducting the administrative cost. Furthermore, the company is administered and regulated by the Council of Directors elected at its General Meeting.

What is the Purpose behind obtaining a Music License?

The purpose behind the Issuance of Music License is to protect and safeguard the rights of the songwriters, composers, and publishers.

Who has the authority to grant a Music License?

Either the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) or a registered Copyright Society has the authority to issue a Music License in India. Further, the type of Music License depends on whether the concerned Café/ Restaurant/Bar is playing a pre-recorded song or is holding a Live Performances.

What are the Advantages of Obtaining a Music License?

The benefits of obtaining a Music License are as follows:

  • By obtaining a music license, an artist can easily use the platform to showcase his or her talent to the entire world.
  • Music license augments the popularity and the awareness regarding a particular song of an artist.
  • The creation of an artist is protected and secured by way of copyright as it reduces or minimizes the chances of copying and stealing of the song.
  • Music license provides various earning sources to the artists by increasing the number of downloads, total number of views, and subscription.
  • Music License allows an artist to perform their work in concerts, events, and broadcasting, etc.

Who needs a Music License?

Any person who is willing to play pre-recorded music in their hotel or any such premises must obtain a Music License to avoid any forfeit. Further, the business unit can be any Hotel, Pubs, Restaurant, Events, Cinema Halls, Malls, Sports Events, Aircraft, Product Launches, or any other such place where music is played.

A business must obtain IRPS License, if it is engaged in any of the following listed activities:

  • Public performances
  • Band performances
  • Singers performing at your business

When is a Music License not required?

The following listed are the entities or the situation in which obtaining a Music License is not required:

  • In hospitals while treating a Patient.
  • Medical day centres.
  • Residential homes.
  • Music played in divine worship (License is needed for using copyrighted music).
  • Partnership and Wedding Ceremonies.
  • For listening to music or songs on Headphones.
  • Background music used in flats, bedrooms, and communal area.
  • For the informal music performances.
  • For the formal music performance, if no related charge is made to the residents.
  • Music that is freely licensed or outside of its copyright term.

What are the Pre-requirements of obtaining a Music License?

The details that need to be provided by the applicant for obtaining Music License is listed below:

  • Audible music range.
  • The applicant is required to mention the area in square meter where such music is audible.
  • The total number of seats in a café, restaurant, or other dining areas
  • The applicant must specify the areas where such music will be audible, like Café/ Restaurant, Bars, or Kitchens.
  • The concerned applicant must provide details about all the types of devices, he or she is going to use or play music like Radio, CDs, TV, etc.

What are the Categories of Music License?

The categories of Music License is explained below:

Music License for Public Performances

  • Multiplexes, Shopping Plaza, Arcades, IT, Parks
  • Hotels, Lodges, Resorts, Guest Rooms, Holiday Homes, Boarding and Lodging Premises, and Clubs.
  • Event Performance at the Premise
  • Amusement park
  • Pubs and Discos
  • Malls
  • Restaurants, Bars, Lounges, Cafes, Dining rooms, Coffee Houses, and all other relatable premises
  • Publications
  • Auditoriums and Banquets Halls
  • Sports
  • Service-oriented Premises
  • Waiting Premises
  • Transportation services

Music License for Broadcasting Songs on Television and Radio

  • Community Radio Broadcast
  • Television broadcast by way of satellite
  • Radio broadcast

Music License for Physical Medium/ Over the Top (OTT)/ Streaming

  • Services of Non-Interactive Music streaming on the Internet
  • Services of Interactive music Streaming on the internet
  • Used for downloading, streaming or renting Cinematography films by using Electronic Digital Medium

Music License for the Caller’s ringtone

  • Used for the Ring tone or the caller back tone.

Music license for Sound or Music usage on the commercial TV, advertisement, etc

  • Use of Sound or Music in the Corporate Videos, Advertisement, or Audio and Promotional videos.

What are the Different Types of Music Licenses?

Different Types of Music Licenses

The different kinds of Music License are listed below:

  • Sync License

    Under this method, a piece of music already created is synchronized with some visual media. This license is broadly acquired by the users like Advertising Agencies, TV commercials, Film Studios, etc.

  • Mechanical License

    A Mechanical License is used to make an artist’s creation available to the general public. The same is done by creating CDs, online publication of music, or any other form of distribution. In this license, the original artist is being paid for his work and is also asked to sign an agreement. By this agreement, the concerned artist is permitting the recreation and distribution of his original work. A Mechanical License is required even for making a slight or a minute change in the original components such as adding own lyrics, remix, or changing anything in the original composition.

  • Master License

    The Master license is a bit complex in nature than other licenses. This license is issued in combination with the Sync License. Master License allows the license holder to use any pre-recorded version of the song in any of his audio-visual projects. However, he is not permitted to re-record the song.

  • Public Performance License

    This music license is one of the most common forms of a license granted for broadcasting an artist's copyrighted work. Public Performance License or the PPL is obtained by those businesses that are either playing music in their jukebox or holding any kind of Public Performance such as the concerts.

What are the Documents needed for Obtaining Music License?

The documents needed for obtaining a Music License is provided in the list below:

  • Personal Details such as the Name, Address, Nationality.
  • Details concerning the business.
  • Detailed list regarding the type of music that the applicant will play.
  • If one is into an LLP (Limited Liability Partnership) business, then the applicant must submit the Certificate of Incorporation.
  • PAN (Permanent Account Number) Card.
  • GST (Goods and Service Tax) Registration Certificate.
  • Address Proof in the form of Electricity Bill, Voter ID, Driving License.

What is the Procedure to obtain Music License in India?

The steps included in the procedure to obtain a Music License in India are:

  • Select the Category

    The first and foremost step is to select the type or category for the music license. This means choosing the type of license which an applicant wants to obtain.

  • Select the Type of License

    Now, the applicant is required to create an online account on the official website of the IPR (Intellectual Property Rights). Start with choosing the type of license and then complete all the required details. The term “required details” includes the name of the applicant, contact and address details of the applicant, Email-ID, GST (Goods and Service Tax) Registration, and the Login Credentials like the user name and password.

  • Verification of the Application

    Once the application form is duly complete, the online check is done by way of mobile OTP verification.

  • Payment of Fees

    After the completion of verification, the applicant is required to pay the prescribed government fee by using online payment gateways. After payment, an online receipt will be sent through SMS on the registered mobile number or by E-mail.

  • Issuance of Introduction Letter

    After the successful registration, the IPRS (Indian Performing Right Societies) issues an “Introduction Letter” to the concerned applicant. This letter implies that the registration of the applicant is complete with the IPRS database.

What is the Procedure to be followed in the case of the Live Performance Category?

The applicant is required to follow some additional steps for the Live Performance Events:

  • Submit the Venue Form by Completing it.
  • Select the Venue from the Existing Venue List.
  • Mention the Date of the Live Performance Event.
  • Pay the Fees, as prescribed in the Background Music Category.

How much is the Cost Incurred for obtaining a Music License?

The following listed are the factors that are taken into consideration for determining the Fee for obtaining Music License:

  • The type of Place,
  • Number of hours,
  • Number of songs played.
  • Venue capacity.
  • Type of food business.

Further, if an individual wants to conduct Live Performances at his or her business, he or she must apply to IPRS for a Music License. Usually, the fee prescribed for obtaining the license is Rs 1.50/sq. Feet. Moreover, the minimum royalty under their tariffs is Rs 50,000, etc. one is needed to verify the tariff scheme based on the type of activity carried out at his or her business.

What is the Penalty Prescribed for not obtaining a Music License?

Restaurants that are willing to either hold a Live Performance or want to play a pre-recorded music of any kind are required to obtain a Music License. Further, any business that did not get itself registered with the respective Copyright Society or is engaged in doing any activity defined in Section 51are liable for a punishment prescribed under Section 63 and 63A of the Copyright Act.

As per Section 63:

  • The offender is liable to pay a fine of not less than Rs 50,000; the same may extend up to Rs. 2 Lakh.
  • In severe cases, it can also lead to imprisonment for six months, which can extend up to three years.

As per Section 63A:

  • In severe cases, it can also lead to imprisonment for one year, which may extend further to three years and,
  • The offender is liable to pay a fine of not less than fine Rs 1 Lakh, which may extend to Rs. 2 lakh.

Frequently Asked Questions

IPRS or Indian Performing Right Societies is an organisation regulated by the Council of Directors elected at its General Meeting. This organisation regulates and administers the copyrighted work of an artist. It offers royalties to the artists for their creations after deducting the administrative cost.

Firstly, the applicant needs to submit the Venue Form after completing it. After that, he/she needs to select the Venue from the Existing Venue List and mentions the date of the event. Lastly, the applicant needs to pay the fee prescribed in the Background Music Category.

A Music License is needed to safeguard the rights of the Composers, Songwriters, and Publishers.

Yes, Swarit Advisors is an online platform where one can easily find CA, CS, and Legal professionals. All you need to do is just post a query with us and then follow the procedure afterward.

The situations in which a Music License is not needed include in hospitals while treating the patients; Medical day Centers; Residential Homes; Wedding Ceremonies; for listening Songs on Headphones; Background music used in Flats, Bedrooms, and Communal Area; Informal Music Performances; Songs that are either Freely Licensed.

If in case the business is engaged in the activity defined under section 51 of the Copyright Act but has not obtained registration from the Copyright Society, then the said business will be punished under the Act. As per section 63, the defaulting business will be liable to pay a fine up to Rs 2 Lakhs. However, in severe cases, the owner can also be punished with imprisonment up to 3 years.

Both the IPRS (Indian Performing Rights Society) and any Registered Cooperative Society are eligible to issue a Music License in India. However, the type of Music License depends on the need of Cafés/ Bars/ Restaurants that whether they want to arrange live performances or use pre-recorded songs.

The details that an applicant needs to provide for obtaining Music License for a Café or Restaurant include Audible Music Range; Area in Sq Mtr where such music will be played; Total Number of Seats in the Premise; Type of Area where such music will be played; Details about all the Types of Devices, that he/she is going to use in the Premise.

There are 3 types of Radio License, which are Private FM, Government-Owned Radio Station, and Community Radio Station.

The Copyright Act, 1957, acts as the Governing Law for the Music License.

The Factors to be considered for determining the Fee for Music License include Type of Place; Number of Hours; Number of Songs to be played; Venue capacity; and the Type of Food Business.

Any person who is willing to play pre-recorded music in their hotel or any such premises needs to obtain a Music License to avoid any forfeit. Further, the term “any such premises” includes Hotel, Pubs, Restaurant, Events, Cinema Halls, Malls, Sports Events, Aircraft, and Product Launches, etc.

There are 4 different kinds of Music License prevalent in India, which are Sync License; Mechanical License; Master License; and Public Performance License.

The documents needed for obtaining Music License in India include Personal Details; Business Details; Type of Music; in case of Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) submit the COI (Certificate of Incorporation); PAN Card; GST Registration Certificate; Utility Bill for Address Proof of the Business; Owner’s Address Proof in the form of Electricity Bill, Driver’s License, or Voter ID.

The concept of PPL (Public Performance License) was developed under the Copyright Act, 1957. As per this act, the owner must obtain Performance License; Entertainment License, and PPL License, if he/she wants to play music, drums, pre-recording songs or music in an open area.

The benefits of a Music License are an artist can use the platform where he or she can show their talent to the whole world; increases the popularity and awareness regarding the particular song of an artist; creation by an artist is protected by copyright, which reduces the chances of imitation.

The steps included in the Process to obtain Music License in India are Selection of the Music Category; Register of Official Website of IPR; Verification of Contact Details; Payment of License Fee; and Introduction Letter from IPRS.

The categories of Music License in India are License for Public Performances in Hotels, Multiplex, Events premises, Pubs, Malls, and banquets, etc; License for Broadcasting Songs on Television and Radio; License for an Interactive or Non-interactive Music Streaming on the Internet; License for the Caller’s Ringtone; License for the Usage of Sound or Music on the commercial TV, advertisement, etc.

No, you need to acquire an Identical License from the respective sound recording CMO operating in Germany.

Yes, you need to obtain a PPL license, as it has the authority to protect the international music of leading record labels as well.

Yes, PPL has authority over thousands of regional songs and music from across India. Further, this license includes music in almost all the Indian languages, including Gujarati, Bengali, Kannada, Punjabi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Bhojpuri, and others.

Every PPL (Public Performance License) has a distinctive QR code that can easily be scanned by a smartphone. That means if the license is authentic, the code will redirect you to the original permit on the PPL portal. Over there, you can then verify the details of the license.

Yes, every person needs to obtain a PPL license if he/she wants to play the sound recording at a public premise, such as Club/Banquet hall, etc.

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