Employers told to pay up for Music
Listening to music at work may soon become a thing of the past…
It is estimated that more than half a million businesses across the UK are playing music illegally. But many of them don’t even know it. By law, whenever music is played publicly (that’s considered to be anywhere outside the home) a license is needed. It doesn’t matter whether it’s played on a radio, cd or mp3, or who’s listening.
In the case of businesses, whether staff or customers can hear it, you still need a license. The Performing Right Society (PRS) takes the money and pays it to the artist. That’s because under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 if you use copyright music in public, you need to have permission from every writer or composer.
Without a license you could be taken to court and face a big bill for legal costs. Last year the PRS made £134m from Public Performance Licenses. They keep between 6-12% of what they take, before passing it on to the artist. The songwriter can make anything between £1 and upwards of £20 per play.
But groups representing businesses claim it’s too complicated for many firms to work out whether they need a license and that smaller businesses, with just one or two staff, should be exempt.
There are more than 40 different tariffs for music licenses depending on the type, size and nature of the business. You can buy them online or over the phone.
Adrian Crookes, from PRS, said: “If you want to play music in your business, you’ve got to get the songwriter or the composer’s permission to do that. So what we do is remind businesses that they need licenses and if they haven’t got one, how they can get one.”
Stephen Alambritis from the Federation of Small Businesses said it’s a money-making exercise and some of the smallest firms can’t afford it.
He said: “To enforce it on small factories where there are only two or three employees, in shops where it’s obvious it’s in the back room, then we don’t think that they should be asked to pay.”
The PRS said it is only fair that all businesses pay up.