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How to get a Music License for playing Music in Restaurants in India?

calendar09 Dec, 2019
timeReading Time: 5 Minutes
Music License

It is always refreshing to let your customers listen to some good music when you are dining out with their family and friends . You make various arrangements to entertain your customers by playing some retro music or calling over a famous rock band at your restaurant. However, you cannot make these arrangements without getting permissions from the government. Therefore, you must obtain a Music License if you own a restaurant or any other food business and you play music of any kind inside the premises of your business.

What is a Music License: Introduction to Licensing of Music

As per the Copyright Act, ‘ musical work[1] means a work consisting of music and includes any graphical notation of such work but does not include any words or any action intended to be sung, spoken or performed with the music.” Therefore, a license required for authorizing, validating and protecting such musical work is called as a Music License. You require a music license when you play or perform a musical work at a public place or for business purposes.

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

The purpose of issuing the music license is to protect the rights of the composers, songwriters, and publishers.

Types of Music Licenses

There is a variety of categories under which one can get a music license in India.

Such categories given under the IPRS are as follows:

Music License in India for Public Performance

  • Event performance at premises
  • Multiplex and Shopping Plaza, IT Parks, Arcades, etc.
  • Pubs and Disco
  • Hotels, lodges, Guest rooms, resorts, clubs, restaurants, holiday homes, and boarding and lodging premises.
  • Banquets halls and auditoriums
  • Amusement park
  • Service-oriented Premises
  • Malls
  • Publications
  • Transportation services
  • Waiting premises
  • Sports

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.
  • Interactive music Streaming services on the internet
  • Used for Sound recording on Electronic Digital Medium
  • Non-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 Caller Ring Back Tone (CRBT) or Ringtone

  • Used as a Ring tone or caller back tone

Music License for Commercial Purposes

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

Licensing forms for Music License

  • Live performance
  • General Licensing form

Who issues Music License?

The music license is issued either by a registered Copyright Society or by Indian Performing Rights Society in India. The type of music license depends on whether the restaurant/ bar/ café is playing pre-recorded music or hold live performances.

1.Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) grants music license when you play pre-recorded music at the premises of your food business. Furthermore, any of the following forms can be used to play pre-recorded music in the restaurant;

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

2. Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) – On the other hand, you need a license from the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) when you conduct live performances from singers, live band, or concert at your business premises.

3. Indian Singer Rights Association (ISRA) was introduced in 2013, under Section 38 B of the Copyright Act and the purpose behind ISRA is to administer and manage from the performance of his singers and share the royalties that is collected among its singers.

Pre-requirements of obtaining a Music License

You also need to pay attention to these details before applying for obtaining a Music License for your restaurant;

  • Audible music range
  • The area in square meter up to which the music is audible
  • The number of seats in a restaurant, café or other dining areas
  • You need to specify the areas where music is audible such as restaurant/cafe dining areas, bars or kitchens
  • Types of devices, 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 is based upon the following factors;

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

Furthermore, if you conduct live performances at your business, you would need to apply for a music license from the IPRS. The amount of fees for a license in that case is Rs. 10, 000 per annum for Metro cities and for Non-Metro cities it is Rs. 5,000 per annum. Depending on the category of event there are various tariff schemes available that can be carried on in the premises and the minimum fee for the music public performance at any store per 5000 sq. ft is Rs. 2500. While the music license received from ISRA, the license fees shall be calculated at the price of the minimum drink price on the menu card which is subject to a minimum of Rs 3,650/- p.a.

On failing to make payment for the license granted by PPL, the person shall be liable to give an interest of 18% per annum together with a penal charge of up to Rs 2 lakhs, while for the non-payment for license approved by IPRS, the person shall be liable for an interest rate of 30 % p.a.

Documents required

You need to submit these documents along with the application to get your music license;

  • Personal details, like name, nationality, address, etc.
  • Information about the business you commence
  • However, in case your business is an LLP, you have to submit the certificate of Incorporation
  • List of the music you will play
  • GST registration certificate, if required
  • PAN Card
  • Address proof such as Electricity bill, Driver’s License, Voter ID Card, etc.

Offences and penalties

Restaurants that plays pre-recorded music or holds live performances of any kind must obtain a Music License. Furthermore, any entity or businesses who do not register with the respective Copyright Society or do any activity defined in Section 51 are liable for punishment under Section 63 and 63 A of the Copyright Act[2].

As per section 63 of the Copyright Act, any person who infringes the copyrights or other rights is liable for a penalty as follows;

  • Imprisonment for a period which is not less than six months which may be extended to three years
  • With a fine, which is not less than Fifty Thousand Rupees which can be extended to two lakh rupees

Also, under section 63 A of the Copyright Act any person or entity who infringes the copyrights or any other rights and is a repetitive lawbreaker is liable for punishment as follows;

  • Jail term for a period which is not less than one year and which may be extended to three years
  • Also, with a fine, which is not less than One Lakh Rupees and can be extended to Two Lakh Rupees

Benefits of getting a Music License

There are numerous benefits of obtaining a Music license in India. These benefits or advantages are as follows;

  • Artists use the Music license to show their talent to the world legally
  • The Music license helps enhance the popularity of the song or event of such artist
  • Also, obtaining a music license ensures the artist or creator of the musical work that their work will not be stolen, duplicated or repeated without their permission
  • It is a kind of Intellectual Property Right; thus, it secures your work in every aspect
  • It is a good earning source for the artist as she/ he can sell their work without any problem


You can obtain a music license for your restaurant, bar, café, or any other food business with our help. Corpbiz helps you get such licenses easily and save you from the hassle of the government procedures. Looking for a food license, eating house license or any other food-related license? We have a solution for all your queries, just visit on Corpbiz, fill out the given form and unlock a better and easier path for getting these government authorizations.

Read our article:How do you file a Complaint against Food Adulteration?

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