What is a Music License?


Any business entity or individual does not have the authority to play music in public areas for a commercial purpose without obtaining a music license. In India, the Copyright Act of 1957 has made it compulsory for all bars, clubs, hotels, cafes, and restaurants to first obtain a music license and then play music on their respective premises. There are two organizations in India that have the authority to issue music license. They are Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) and The Indian Performing Right Societies (IPRS).

What is a Music License?

A license obtained to protect, authorize, and validate a musical work is known as Music License. According to Copyright Act, ‘Musical work’ means a work consisting of music and includes any graphical notation of such work but does not include any words or action intended to be sung, spoken, or performed with the music.

Why do we need a Music License?

The music license is issued in order to protect the rights of the composers, publishers, and songwriters. The license is also required for the purpose of streaming recorded soundtracks in public places like hotels, shopping complexes, pubs, etc.

Benefits of Music License

  • It secures the work
  • Builds up the fame of the song
  • The artist can sell their work without any technicality and channel it into a source of income.
  • Ensures the artist that their work is not stolen, duplicated, or repeated.

Who can issue it?

– Phonographic Performance Limited

It was founded in the year 1941. It is a performance rights organization licensing its members for sound recording. All those businesses who want to play pre-recorded music on their premises in public or private such as cafes, concerts, events, hotels, buses, aircraft, malls, DJ parties, and restaurants need to obtain a music license approved by them.

Under the Copyright Act 1957, every business entity or individual needs to take permission from the copyright owners of the pre-recorded music before any public performance takes place. This ensures that businesses and individuals comply with the law and pay the copyright holders for the music they chose to play.

Music license under PPL

  • License to play pre-recorded music in the background in the public area.
  • License to play music at a public event.
  • License for storing and transferring music or sound recording on computer servers by aggregators (a person or organization that collects information from the internet pages of other businesses and puts it on a single website).

– Indian Performing Right Societies

The Indian Performing Right Societies was formed on 23rd August 1969 under the company’s act of 2013. It is a nonprofit organization and unlimited by guarantee company. This body includes artists such as music owners, composers, music publishers, and lyricists. The main role of IPRS is to collect royalties on behalf of its members on copyrighted music from music users. The royalty which is collected is then distributed among its members after deducting the administrative cost of the organization.

The copyright act 1957 under Section 33 gives authority to IPRS to issue license for music and literary work. this is in order to show the rightful ownership of the copyright. These licenses are issued to those individuals, business, entity, or performer who wants to have a live concert or live singing on their respective premises.

Music license under IPRS

  • For Public Performances in malls, multiplexes, banquets, hotels, event premises, pubs, etc.
  • For streaming music on the internet
  • For setting caller ringtone or caller ringback tone
  • For using music for commercials and advertisement

Pre-requirement of obtaining a Music License

One needs to find out the following things before applying for obtaining a music license:

  • The area in square meters up to which the music is audible.
  • The number of seats on the premise.
  • The audible music range.
  • Types of devices to be used to play music.

The fee for a Music License

The fee for the PPL license depends upon the given factors:

  • the type of place
  • number of hours played
  • number of songs played
  • venue capacity
  • business type

An IPRS license is a must when conducting live performances. The license fee for each square is Rs. 1.50/-sq. and the minimum royalty is Rs. 50,000/-.

Procedure for obtaining a Music License

Registration procedure under PPL:

  • An application is to be submitted along with the applicable fees prescribed.
  • For a radio broadcasting license, the applicant must contact and submit an application to PPL’s head office in Mumbai.
  • For any other kind of license the application is to be submitted to the nearest PPL office.

Registration procedure under IPRS:

  • Select the category or type of music license.
  • The process starts with creating an account online on the official website of IPR.
  • Fill in the necessary details of the applicant like name, phone number, email-id, GST, address, and contact.
  • The applicant then needs to go through the verification process via mobile OTP.
  • Upon completion of the online application, the applicant needs to make payment and he/she shall receive the receipt through SMS or E-mail.
  • The IPRS issues the introduction letter to the applicant implying that the registration was successful.


Documents for Music License

  • Personal details
  • PAN card
  • Address proof(Aadhar card, Electricity bill, Driver’s license, voter’s ID card).
  • Details regarding business
  • GST registration certificate
  • A detailed list of music to be played
  • If it’s an LLP business then one needs to submit a certificate of incorporation.



When an individual or business entity does not register for the license and conducts activities then under sections 63 and 63A of the Copyright Act the punishments are:

  • Imprisonment for not less than 6 months and which may extend to 3 years.
  • Fine which shall not be less than Rs. 50,000 and may extend to Rs. 2,00,000/-.

For any person who infringes the copyrights and is a repetitive offender, then:

  • Imprisonment for a period of 1 year which may extend to 3 years.
  • Fine not less than Rs. 1,00,000/- and which may extend to Rs. 2,00,00/-.


Source:https://corpbiz.io/,https://ebizfiling.com/,https://learn.quicko.com/, www.pplindia.org, www.iprs.org


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