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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 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.

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 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 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.

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?

Types of Music License

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.

How can Swarit Advisors assist you in getting a Music License?

The following listed are the steps that will be followed by the Swarit Advisors:

  • Fill our inquiry form at Swarit Advisors, then just sit back and relax.
  • You will receive a call back in 24 hrs from our team of experts’ professionals.
  • They will first understand your needs and will assist accordingly.
  • We will do all the work, such as drafting your application, coordinating with the concerned department, etc.
  • Once you receive your license, you will receive a call by our Customer Coordinator/calling expert.

Package Inclusions

  • Documentation for PPL or IRPS License
  • Regular coordination with the concerned Copyright Society
  • Expert assistance
  • Reduced hassle
  • Just make a call, pay and obtain your license with ease.

FAQs for Music License

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.

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

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

Licenses are needed whenever a person or an individual performs a song in public, which he or she did not write, or play some recorded music in public, like at a restaurant, club, concert, online streaming, or on the radio, or streaming. Further, a Public Performance License (PPL) is needed even for using a small portion of the song. However, there are some exceptions where a PPL (Public Performance License) is not required. These exceptions are when an individual plays a song that he wrote himself or singing songs that are in the public domain.

The idea of PPL (Public Performance License) was developed under the Copyright Act, 1957. As per this act, the government makes it compulsory and obligatory to obtain Entertainment License, Performance License, and a PPL License if in case there will be an occurrence of playing music, drums, recorded sounds recordings in an open public zone.

The following listed are the advantages annexed with the concept of Music License:

  1. By way of a Music License, an artist can use the platform where he or she can show their talent to the whole world.
  2. Music license augments the popularity and awareness regarding the particular song of an artist.
  3. Creation by an artist is protected by copyright, as copyrights assist in reducing or minimizing the chances of copying or stealing the song.

The categories of Music License are specified below:

  1. Music License for Public Performances in Hotels, Multiplex, Events premises, Pubs, Malls, and banquets, etc
  2. Music License for Broadcasting Songs on Television and Radio
  3. Music License for an interactive or non-interactive Music Streaming on the internet
  4. Music License for the Caller’s ringtone
  5. Music license for Sound or Music usage on the commercial TV, advertisement, etc.

The different kinds of Music License are listed below:

  1. Sync License
  2. Mechanical License
  3. Master License
  4. Public Performance License

The punishments prescribed for the copyright breach is explained below:

  1. Detention for not less than six months, the same may extend further up to three years and,
  2. Offender is imposed with a fine of not less than fifty thousand rupees, which may extend further to two lakh rupees.

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.

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

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

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

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

  1. The type of Place,
  2. Number of hours,
  3. Number of songs played.
  4. Venue capacity.
  5. 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.

The following listed are the steps that will be followed by the Swarit Advisors:

  1. Fill our inquiry form at Swarit Advisors, then just sit back and relax.
  2. You will receive a call back in 24 hrs from our team of experts’ professionals.
  3. They will first understand your needs and will assist accordingly.
  4. We will do all the work, such as drafting your application, coordinating with the concerned department, etc.
  5. Once you receive your license, you will receive a call by our Customer Coordinator/calling expert.

The Copyright Act, 1957, is the governing law for the Music License.

Radio License is needed to be applied before establishing any kind of radio stations including;

  1. Private FM
  2. Government-Owned Radio Station
  3. Community Radio Station

The following listed are the details that must be provided by the applicant for obtaining Music License:

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

Either the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) or a registered Copyright Society are qualified 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.

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.

Such punishments are:

  1. Liability to pay fine under Section 63, the same may extend up to Rs. 2 Lakhs.
  2. In severe cases, it can also lead to imprisonment under Section 51 of the Copyright Act, which can extend up to 3 years.

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

  1. In hospitals while treating a Patient.
  2. Medical day centers
  3. Residential homes
  4. Music played in divine worship (License is needed for using copyrighted music)
  5. Partnership and WeddingCeremonies
  6. For listening to music or songs on Headphones
  7. Background music used in flats, bedrooms, and communal area
  8. For the Informal Music Performances
  9. For the Formal Music Performance, if no related charge is made to the residents.
  10. Music that is freely licensed or outside of its copyright term.

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

The member labels of PPL have assigned it with exclusive rights which are collection of fees on every “Radio Broadcasting” and “Public Performance” activity.

No, it doesn’t exempt you from obtaining the PPL license. In fact, instrumental music creates a part of the original sound recording by a record label. Therefore, obtaining the concerned license is quite essential.

Yes, you do require obtaining a separate Event License for playing music in public on special occasions. The reason for the same is that annual Background License is not applicable for events.

Yes, every public performance requires a PPL license irrespective of the volume of music being played at the venture.

Every license has a unique QR code. One can scan this code with a smartphone using apps such as i-nigma or Kaspersky’s QR scanner. The code is authentic; it will direct you to the original PPL license on the PPL portal where you can examine the license details online.

No, PPL doesn’t accept any cash transactions. You can either pay through a payment link or transfer through NEFT/IMPS/RTGS/DD/Cheque. If any executive is asking you to pay in cash, then you need to file a formal compliant at [email protected]

No, PPL doesn’t hold any music rights for digital platforms.

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