How to Start a MUSIC License

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An Overview of Music License

Music is a form of IPR governed by the characteristics of being intangible. Any person or business entity doesn’t have the authority to play music in public places for any commercial purpose without having a valid Music License. In India, the Copyright Act of 1957 has made it compulsory for all pubs, cafes, hotels, bars, and restaurants to play music in their areas to obtain Music License. There are two primary organisations that issue this license one is Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) and Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS).

The primary authority that issues Music Licenses to any individual or any business entities such as shops, bars, etc., is the IPRS. It’s a body corporate with offices throughout India. Apart from this organisation, there is the Copyright Society for Sound Recording, which is under the PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited). PPL issues Music License for performances in restaurants and the IPRS would be utilised if any business or restaurant wants some form of live performance. Hence, every restaurant or bar must own a Music License for live performances & pre-recorded performances. The Indian Government has mandated this as a compulsory requirement for a restaurant to conduct business.

This License is a way for artists to get royalties for their music by providing consent to someone who’d like to use their music. If an individual or a business entity uses someone’s music that another 3rd person will listen to, they need to have this License. This License will include the usage & term rights, which will conclude how the song will be used.

Who can apply for Music License in India?

Following establishments can obtain a Music License in India:

  1. Mall and Discos;
  2. Hotels, Motels, Bed, and Boarding & lodging;
  3. Marriage Halls, Commercial Banquets;
  4. Performances that occur in large areas;
  5. Amusement parks;
  6. Pubs & Restaurants;
  7. Transportation services;
  8. Commercial spaces, retail outlets, and showrooms.

Who Provide Music License in India?

  1. PPL: PPL stands for Phonographic Performance Limited; it's a Copyright Society for Sound Recording and approved Music Licenses to businesses such as cafes & restaurants who want to play pre-recorded music on their premises. These licenses are issued to any Government-owned Radio Station or even Community Radio Station or Private FM. This License is to play or use pre-recorded music as a piece of background music in private/public commercials. Music License, along with other appropriate licenses, can make someone capable of organising any event, concert, pub parties, etc., in India;
  2. IPRS (Indian Performing Rights Society): In case a business entity is searching for singers on their commercial premises for a live concert, then that entity has to approach IPRS for the License. Music License for Public Performance in hotels, pubs, malls, theatres, etc. License for giving out music on TV & Radio. This License for interactive & non-interactive music on the internet.

Different Types of Music Licenses in India

The different kinds of Music Licenses are listed below:

  • Sync License: A piece of music already created is synchronised with some visual media under this method. 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, an 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 permits 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 your lyrics, remixing, or changing anything in the original composition.
  • Master License: The Master license is a bit more complex than other licenses. This License is issued in combination with the Sync License. Master License allows the license holder to use any pre-recorded song version 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. A 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 concerts.
  • Theatrical License: This License is very ordinary in the theatre industry, a specific form of written permission and this License is compulsory whenever a copyrighted work is executed on stage in front of the audience.
  • Print Rights License: This License shows the physical copy of the sheet music that an artist has produced. It is needed when someone prints the sheet music compilation or any time the sheet music of copyrighted work is reproduced.

Benefits of Music License in India

  1. By attaining a music license, an artist can easily use the platform to showcase their talent to the entire world;
  2. This License augments the popularity and the awareness regarding a particular song of an artist.
  3. An artist's creation is protected by way of copyright as it reduces or minimises the chances of copying and stealing the song.
  4. This License provides various earning sources to the artists by increasing the number of downloads, a total number of views, and subscriptions.
  5. This License allows artists to perform their work in concerts, events, broadcasting, etc.

Pre-requirements of Music License

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

  • Audible music range;
  • The applicant is required to mention the area in square meters 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 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.

Documents Required for Music License

The documents required for Music License are provided in the list below:

  • Personal Details such as the Name, Address, Nationality;
  • Details concerning the business.
  • Detailed list regarding the type of music the applicant will play or use.
  • If one is into an LLP (Limited Liability Partnership) business, then the applicant must submit the Partnership Deed & in the case of a company, then the Certificate of Incorporation, MoA & AoA is required.
  • PAN & Aadhar Card.
  • GST Registration Certificate.
  • Address Proof such as the latest Electricity Bill, Voter ID, and Driving License.

Procedure for Obtaining Music License in India

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

Step 1: Go to the Official Website: The applicant for a Music License must visit the official website and this will be the IPRS for any form of live or public performance or PPL for the use of pre-recorded music.

Step 2: 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 that an applicant wants to obtain.

Step 3: Fill in all the vital details: The applicant must create an online account at the official website of these organisations by giving vital details such as complete name, address and contact details, email id & GST. If the applicant is applying for the "Music Works & Accompanying Literary Works within the premises, then the details should be provided in compliance with the laws. The following information must be provided by the applicant:

  1. Name of the Premises;
  2. The registered address of the premises;
  3. Information like contact details & email id;
  4. Services’ details which use the Music License;
  5. Public Performance details;
  6. GST Number, Pan & TAN Number;
  7. Details regarding the Fee payable with the License allocated must be provided.

Step 4: Verification: After submitting the application, the applicant will receive an SMS & email and the OTP for verification purposes.

Step 5: Online Payment: Once the verification is successfully done, the application should be completed by paying fees online via payments gateways. The online receipt will be sent via email or SMS.

Step 6: Issues Certificate: After the successful registration, the licensing authority will issue the Introduction Letter to an applicant that implies the registration.

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 where the music is being played or used;
  • Number of an hour the premise stream the music;
  • Number of songs played at the premise;
  • The capacity of the premise where the music is being played;
  • Type of business the applicant is occupied.

Moreover, where a Music License is received from IPRS for streaming a live performance at your store or restaurant, a music license’s feed or royalty rates are Rs. 10,000/annum for metro cities and Rs. 5,000/- per annum for the non-metro cities. A variety of tariff schemes depend on the type of events carried out at the premise:

  • The minimum royalty fee for the public performance at stores or premises is Rs. 2500 per 5,000 sq. ft. While, for the License attained from ISRA (Indian Singer’s Right Association), the Royal Fees or License Fees would be designated to a minimum of Rs. 3,650 per annum.

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 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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