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Music License


When you're dining out with your family and friends, it's always nice to let your customers listen to some decent music. You make various preparations to entertain your customers, such as playing classic music or inviting a well-known rock band to perform at your establishment. You cannot, however, form these arrangements without first obtaining government approval.

If you own a restaurant or other food company and play music of any kind inside the premises, you must obtain a Music License.

What is a Music License?

According to the Copyright Act, "musical work" denotes "a work consisting of music, including any graphical notation of such work, but excluding any words or actions intended to be sung, spoken, or performed with the music." As a result, a Music License is a license that is required for licensing, authenticating, and safeguarding such musical work. When you play or perform musical material in a public place or for a business, you must have a music license.

Why do you need a Music License for playing music in a Restaurant?

The music licence is issued to protect the rights of composers, songwriters, and publishers.

Categories of Music Licenses

A music licence in India can be obtained in a number of different categories.

Such categories given under the IPRS are as follows:

  • Music License in India for Public Performance
    • Event performance at premises
    • Pubs and Disco
    • Multiplex and Shopping Plaza, IT Parks, Arcades, etc.
    • Sports
    • Waiting premises
    • Transportation services
    • Publications
    • Malls
    • Service-oriented Premises
    • Amusement park
    • Hotels, lodges, Guest rooms, resorts, clubs, restaurants, holiday homes, and boarding and lodging premises.
    • Banquets halls and auditoriums
  • Music License for Television and Radio
    • Radio broadcast
    • Television broadcast through satellite
    • Community Radio Broadcast
  • Music License for Physical Medium/ Streaming/ Over the Top (OTT)
    • Karaoke service on the internet.
    • Used for Sound recording on Electronic Digital Medium
    • Non-Interactive Music streaming services on the internet
    • Interactive music Streaming services on the internet
    • Utilization of music by Cinematography films on Electronic Digital Medium through downloading, renting, Streaming, sale through a physical medium
  • Music License for Commercial Purposes

    Use of Sound or Music in Corporate videos, Advertisement, or audio and promotional videos.

  • Music License for Caller Ring Back Tone (CRBT) or Ringtone

    Used as a Ring tone or caller back tone

  • Licensing forms for Music License
    • Live performance
    • General Licensing form

Types of Music License

Artists are granted the following sorts of music licenses for their compositions :

  • Sync License

    This method involves synchronizing previously created music with visual media. Music licenses are held by a wide range of users, including television commercials, advertising firms, and film studios.

  • Mechanical License

    The goal of this license is to make artists' works available to the general public through CD production, online music distribution, and other forms of distribution. The artist who owns the copyrights to their work gets compensated for signing an agreement allowing the distribution or replica of their original work. Even minor changes to original components, such as remixing, adding their lyrics, or changing anything about the original composition, require a mechanical license.

  • Master License

    The Master license is more complicated than other licenses and is only available when paired with a sync license. This license permits the holder to use the pre-recorded version of the music in any audiovisual project, but it does not allow for the music to be re-recorded.

  • Public Performance License

    This is the most popular type of license for transmitting a copyrighted artist's work. Businesses that play music in their jukeboxes or put on any kind of public performance, such as concerts, must obtain this license.

Who issues Music License?

In India, the music license is issued by the Indian Performing Rights Society or a certified Copyright Society. Whether a restaurant, bar, or café plays pre-recorded music or hosts live performances determine the type of music license required.

Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) issues a music license when you play pre-recorded music at the location of your food business. Moreover, any of the next modes can be used to play pre-recorded music in the restaurant;

  • TV
  • Music Cassettes
  • CDs
  • Gramophone Records
  • Radio
  • Any Audiovisual media

When you host live performances by singers, live bands, or concerts at your business, you must obtain a license from the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS).

Pre-requirements of obtaining a Music License

Before applying for a Music License for your restaurant, you should also pay attention to these details

  • Audible music range.
  • The area in square meters up to which the music is clear.
  • The number of seats in a restaurant, café, or other dining zones.
  • You need to define the areas where music is audible such as restaurant/cafe dining areas, bars, or kitchens.
  • Types of media, you are going to use to play music such as radio, CDs, TV, etc.

Fees of Music License

The fee of the music license from PPL depends on the below factors

  • The type of food business
  • The capacity of the venue
  • Number of songs played
  • The type of place
  • Number of hours

Furthermore, if your business hosts live performances, you must apply for a music license from the IPRS. The license fee is usually Rs.1.50 per square foot. Additionally, the minimum royalty under their tariff is Rs.50, 000, etc. you need to check the tariff scheme based on the type of activity carried out at your business.

Documents required

You require to submit these documents along with the application to obtain your music license

  • Personal details, like name, nationality, address, etc.
  • Copy of PAN Card
  • Address proof such as Electricity bill, Driver’s License, Voter ID Card, etc.
  • Details about the business you start.
  • If your company is an LLP, however, you must submit the certificate of incorporation.
  • List of the music you will play
  • GST registration certificate, if needed

Registration Procedure to get Music License in India

  • 01. Start the process to obtain a music license by choosing the category or type for the music license, i.e., in which type an applicant desires to get his music license.
  • 02. On the official website of IPR, you can create an account. Begin by selecting the type of license, then filling in the required information, such as the applicant's name, address, and contact information, as well as the applicant's email address, GST, password, and user-id for login credentials.
  • 03. Online verification is done through mobile OTP verification after the application is completed.
  • 04. Once the verification is completed, the online application is done by payment of government fees online via payment gateways after which the online receipt will be forwarded through SMS or E-mail.
  • 05. After the successful registration, the IPRS license grants the Introduction Letter to an appellant that indicates the registration of the applicant with the IPRS database.

Offenses and Penalties

A Music License is required for any restaurant that plays pre-recorded music or hosts live performances of any kind. Furthermore, under Sections 63 and 63 A of the Copyright Act[2], any entity or business that does not register with the appropriate Copyright Society or engages in any activity defined in Section 51 is subject to penalties.

Benefits of getting a Music License.

There are many benefits of getting a Music license in India. These advantages or benefits are as follows

  • Artists use the Music license to legally display their talent to the rest of the world.
  • The music license helps to increase the popularity of an artist's song or event.
  • Obtaining a music license also ensures that the musical work's artist or creator's work will not be stolen, duplicated, or repeated without their permission.
  • It's an Intellectual Property Right, so it protects your work in every way.
  • It is a good source of income for the artist because they can easily sell their work.

Frequently Asked Questions ?

The term "public performance" refers to any premises/establishments that play music (sound recordings) for the benefit of the general public (multiple individuals) rather than for personal consumption. This can include, but is not limited to, hotels, discotheques, clubs, lounges, pubs, shops, stores, malls, salons, hospitals, offices, amusement parks, buses, taxis, airplanes, or any other mode of transportation that regularly uses sound recordings. Public Performance also includes playing recorded music at events, shows, parties, and social functions, with or without DJs.

The following individuals are eligible to register:

  • Sync License
  • Mechanical License
  • Master License
  • Public Performance License
  • Compliance with the Law
  • Boost Your Reputation
  • Boost Your Popularity
  • Original Artist Copyright Protection

Detention for at least six months, with the possibility of up to three years, and a fine of at least 50,000 rupees, with the possibility of up to two lakh rupees.

To avoid any penalties, any business that wants to play pre-recorded music on their premises should obtain a music licence. A business unit can be a hotel, restaurant, pub, event, mall, cinema, sporting event, product launch, aircraft, or any other location where music is played.

  • Personal details, like name, nationality, address, etc.
  • Copy of PAN Card
  • Address proof such as Electricity bill, Driver’s License, Voter ID Card, etc.
  • Details about the business you start.
  • If your company is an LLP, however, you must submit the certificate of incorporation.
  • List of the music you will play
  • GST registration certificate, if needed

Theatrical licences, which are a very specific type of written permission, are very common in the theatre industry. When a copyrighted work is performed on stage in front of an audience, the licence is required.