PRS and PPL Licences – do you need both?

20 June, 2014
by: Cripps Pemberton Greenish

PRS and PPL are independent schemes representing different rights holders’ interests in the use of recorded and live music in public.


  • PRS (Performing Rights Society) protects the original “musical works” and licenses the use of lyrics and composed music in public performances, broadcasting and online on behalf of the song writers, composers and music publishers. This covers using the radio, CDs, streaming on the internet, music on television and live music performances. 
  • PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) protects sound recordings and licenses the use of recorded music in public performances and airplay on behalf of the record companies and performers. This covers CDs, music played through television, radio and playing music on the internet in public.


PRS and PPL have separate licences, terms and conditions and it is likely that you will need to purchase a license from both organisations where you play music (whether through CDs, tapes or records, whether live or through radio, DVD or TV) outside of a domestic setting, in any public space through any kind of device to an audience.


The only exception to this is “production music” which is written specifically for audio and audio-visual productions, which can only be obtained from a production music library.


Failure to obtain appropriate music licences can result in civil action for copyright infringement and you may be liable to pay damages and costs.