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Overview of Music License

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

A music License is a procedure of taking permission for approval, validation & protection of musical work. Section 2 (p) of the Act, states a musical work as a work consisting of music and includes any graphical information of such work but does not comprise any words or any act intended to be spoken, sung, or performed with music.

Copyright Society for Sound Recording, Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), issues music licenses to restaurants and cafes that want to play music on their premises. If any business unit is willing to have singers on their premises for a live concert, they have to approach the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) for the license.

Any hotel, restaurant, pub, events, malls, cinema halls, sports events, product launch, aircraft, or any other place where music is played wants to play pre-recorded music on their premises; then they should obtain a music license to avoid any legal action. A music license can be used for the following activities:

  • Public Performances in theatres, hotels, events premises, malls, pubs, banquets, etc.
  • band performances 
  • broadcasting music on television and radio.
  • Interactive and non-interactive music streaming on the internet.
  • caller ring tune
  • Singers performing at some hotels, pubs, clubs, etc., 
  • the use of sounds or music in commercials on TV or radio advertisements, etc.

Music licenses are ways for artists to get royalties for their music by providing permission to someone who'd like to use their work. There are six types of licenses for this purpose: synchronization license, master license, mechanical license, print rights license, public performance license, and theatrical license.

If a person or an entity uses someone's songs that another third person will listen to, they need to have a music license. This license will comprise the usage & term rights, which will conclude how the song will be used.

Requirements for Obtaining a Music License

To obtain a music license for your restaurant/store, you require to look into the fundamentals are requirements of the license before applying for it, which are as given below: -

  • The audible range of music,
  • The area up to which the music is audible (in square meters),
  • The number of seats in your restaurant,
  • The type of area where the music will be played and listened to, such as the dining area, restrooms, bars, kitchens, etc.,
  • The type of device will be used for playing music such as radio, CDs, TV, etc.

Leading Organizations that Provide Music License

PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) & IPRS (The Indian Performing Right Societies Ltd) are two leading organizations that issue Music License in India. Playing music at any public places for any commercial purpose cannot be done without obtaining a music license.

Phonographic Performance Limited 

Copyright Society for Sound Recording, Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), approves music licenses to businesses such as restaurants & cafes who want to play pre-recorded music on their premises.

These Licenses are granted to any Private FM, Govt-owned Radio Station/or even Community Radio Station. This license is to play pre-recorded music as background music in private or public commercials. This license, along with other appropriate licenses, can make someone capable of organizing any event, show, concert, DJ parties, etc., in India. 

For Performing Live Music

In case an entity is seeking to have singers in their commercial premises for the live singing/live concert, then that entity has to approach IPRS (Indian Performing Rights Society) for the music license.

Music License for Public Performances in hotels, theatres, events premises, pubs, malls, banquets, etc. License for giving out music on television & radio. Music license for interactive & non-interactive music on the internet. The license in India for Caller Ring Back Tone (CRBT) or Ringtone. Music license for the use of sounds/music on an advertisement, commercial TV, etc.

Types of Music License

Following are the types of music licenses:

  • Sync License

Under this type, music already created is synced with some visual media. A broad range of users, such as TV commercials, advertising agencies, film studios, etc., holds music licenses.

  • Mechanical License

This license aims to make artists' creations available to the general public in CDs, online published music, or any other form of distribution.

The artist having copyrights of their work is paid for the agreement they signed to allow the distribution or re-creation of their original work. A mechanical license is needed even for making a slight change in original components such as remixing, adding own lyrics, changing anything of the original composition, etc.

  • Master License

The Master license is issued with the sync license. This license allows the holder of such license to use the pre-recorded version of the song in any audio-visual project but doesn't allow re-recording the song.

  • Public Performance License

This license is the most common form of a license issued for broadcasting an artist's copyrighted work. This license is obtained by the businesses playing music in their jukebox or in public-performance such as concerts.

  • Print Rights License

This license indicates the physical copy of the sheet music that an artist has produced. It's required when someone prints the sheet music compilation or any time the sheet music of copyrighted work is reproduced.

  • Theatrical License

Theatrical licenses are very ordinary in the theatre industry, a specific form of written permission. The license is obligatory whenever a copyrighted work is executed on stage in front of the audience.

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Benefits of Music License

The followings are the benefits of obtaining a music license in India: 

  • Compliance With Authorities

The music license ensures that the business entity maintains compliance. Any restaurant not having a music license would be charged or fined by the Government of India.

  • Amplify The Reputation

By getting the IPRS music license, public performances can happen at restaurants & pubs; this will straightforwardly attract more crowds & amplify the reputation of the restaurant. All sorts of live performances enhance the public's interest, unlike a restaurant with pre-recorded music.

  • Increase Popularity

The popularity of such restaurants increases by obtaining a music license. The public would be more attracted to live show in case of live performances. The artist's popularity will also increase with the number of such events.

  • Copyright Protection to Original Artist

Under the Copyrights Act, 1957, all original works are automatically protected as per the act. Hence complying with the requirements of the music license would protect the music from reproduction and distribution.

Documents Required to obtain Music License.

  • Personal details such as name and address
  • Details of the business
  • A detailed list of types of music that will be played or used
  • If you are into an LLP, then the certificate of incorporation, and if it is a company, then the certificate of incorporation, MOA and AOA.
  • PAN Card and Aadhar Card
  • GST registration certificate
  • Utility Bills

Registration Procedure to get Music License in India

The followings are the steps of the registration process for obtaining a music license:

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  • Visit The Official Website

The applicant for music license registration in India has to visit the official website. This will be the IPRS for any form of live or public performances or PPL for the use of pre-recorded music. The official website is at the following link: and PPL

  • Select Category

After visiting the official website of such licensing organization, the applicant needs to select the category of music license as per the requirement. 

  • Complete The Necessary Details

The applicant should then create an online account on the website /portal of these organizations by giving necessary details such as the name, address & contact details, email id, and GST. Create an online id and password after providing the required credentials. 

If the applicant is applying for 'Music Works and Accompanying Literary Works within the premises, then the details must be provided in compliance with the laws. The following information has to be provided by the applicant: -

  1. Name of the Premises.
  2. Registered Address of the Premises.
  3. Information such as contact details and email.
  4. Details of the Services which use the music license.
  5. Public Performance details.
  6. GST Number, PAN and TAN Number.
  7. Details related to the fee payable with the license allocated must also be provided.
  • Read The General Terms and Conditions (Tariff): -

For the information related to payment, the applicant has to go to the Tariff tab, which is the price for every music license service. Any user with such a license has to pay the prescribed fee and government taxes.

  • Online Verification

After properly submitting the application online, the applicant will receive an email and an SMS and the OTP (One Time Password) for verification purposes.

  • Online Payment

Once the verification is done, the application should be completed by paying government fees online through payment gateways. The online receipt will be sent through SMS or Email.

  • Issues Certificate

After the successful registration, the licensing authorities will issue the Introduction Letter to an applicant that implies the applicant's registration.

Fees Applicable for Music License

The Music License identifies the conditions of use, the time period of license and the rate of royalty that will be offered to the owners of the copyright. The copyright society accumulates fees for music licenses and gives them over to the owners of copyrights. The fees for a music license obtained depending on the following factors: -

  • The type of place or premise where the music is being played,
  • The number of hours the restaurant/store stream the music,
  • The number of songs played at the restaurant/store,
  • The capacity of the area where the music is being played,
  • The type of business the applicant is occupied.

However, where a music license is received from IPRS for steaming a live performance at your restaurant/store, a music license's fees (/royalty rates) are Rs. 10k per annum for Metro/Major cities and Rs. 5k per annum for the non-Metro cities.

A variety of tariff schemes there depend on the type of events carried on at the restaurant/store; the minimum royalty fee for the public performance of music at stores is Rs. 2500 per 5k sq. ft. While, for the music license attained from ISRA, the Royalty/license fees would be designed to a minimum of Rs 3,650/- Per annum.

Penalty Available for the Offenders

Upon failure to make payment for the music license granted by PPL, the applicant will be eligible to pay an interest of 18% per annum with a penal charge up to Rs 2 lacs, whereas, for the non-payment for the music license granted by IPRS, the applicant shall be eligible for an interest rate of 30 % per annum.

Section 63 of the Copyright Act says that any individual who breaches the copyright or other rights is accountable for: -

  • Imprisonment for six months which may extend to three years, and
  • The offender is liable to pay a fine of not less than fifty thousand rupees which may extend to two lakh rupees

As per Section 63, any individual who infringes the copyright or other rights is accountable for: -

  • Imprisonment for a period not less than one year, which may extend to three years, and
  • With a fine, not less than one lakh rupees may extend to two lakh rupees.

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Frequently Asked Questions

IPRS stands for Indian performing Right Societies which is an organization that governs the copyrighted work of an artist by giving them royalties to use their creations. IPRS members are given fees received from IPRS customers after deducting the administrative cost. The company is administered by the Council of Directors elected at its General Meeting.

If there should arise an occurrence of a song, you get copyright the moment you form it. Notwithstanding, getting a copyright registration becomes important in light of the fact that the sort of music industry India has. Your song might be duplicated by anybody to make another tune. So you have to document a copyright application with the Registrar of Copyrights.

The idea of Public Performance License developed under the Copyright Act, 1957. Under the act, the government makes it compulsory to acquire performance license, entertainment license, and a PPL License if there should arise an occurrence of playing drums, music, recorded sounds recordings in an open zone.

  • Compliance with Authorities
  • Amplify the Reputation
  • Increase Popularity
  • Copyright Protection to Original Artist

  • Music License for Public Performances in multiplex, hotels, events premises, malls, pubs, banquets, etc.
  • Music license for broadcasting music on television and radio.
  • Music license for interactive and non-interactive music streaming on the internet.
  • Music license for caller ring back tune
  • Music license for the use of sounds or music on commercial TV, advertisement, etc.

  • Sync License
  • Mechanical License
  • Master License
  • Public Performance License

  • Detention for a period of not less than six months which may extend upto three years and
  • Offender is liable to pay a fine of not less than fifty thousand rupees which may extend to two lakh rupees

Any business who wants to play pre-recorded music in their premises should acquire music license to avoid any forfeit. Business unit can be a hotel, restaurant, pubs, events, malls, cinema halls, sports events, product launch, aircrafts or any other place where music is played.

  • Personal details such as name, address, nationality
  • Details regarding the business
  • Detailed list of music type that you will play
  • If you are into an LLP business then it is necessary for you to submit certificate of incorporation
  • PAN Card
  • GST registration certificate
  • Address Proof such as Electricity bill, driver’s license, voter ID

Theatrical licenses are very ordinary in the theater industry which is a very specific form of written permission. The license is obligatory any time a copyrighted work is executed on-stage in front of the audience

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