Bar Music

What Type of Music Licence Do I Need For a Pub Jukebox?

This blog post is outdated. We’ve put together a new blog post that discusses the licences needed for your pub jukebox here.

We’ve already firmly established that music is an essential element for any landlord looking to increase profits in their pub or bar. 91% of consumers surveyed by Music Works, a joint research initiative between PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd) and PRS (Performing Right Society), said that they prefer a bar that plays music to one that doesn’t. Many pub landlords are not aware though, that simply holding a license to play recorded music at their premises is not always the end to their obligations.

If you choose to broadcast recorded music to the public via a pub jukebox, then not only must you ensure that you have a licence allowing you to broadcast music publically, but you will also need to check with both PPL and PRS if you have the required music licences.

Every time that a song is played in public, the permission of the copyright holder must be obtained. PPL and PRS are companies that have been set-up to help businesses licence recorded music correctly whilst collecting the royalties which are owed to artists for use of their music. PPL pay royalties to the artists and record companies whilst PRS ensure the correct royalties are paid to the writers, composers and publishers.


Both PPL and PRS music licences are usually required where there is any public broadcasting of recorded music. This applies to all pubs, bars, clubs, supermarkets, hairdressers, hotels and other similar venues that choose to play recorded music to their customers. Charities and not for profit organizations are usually excluded from this.

Whilst it may seem overwhelming having to contact these companies to obtain further licensing aside from your premises license, you should remember that if these companies did not exist then you would be legally obliged to contact each and every individual artist or record company to seek proper permission to play any of their songs.

The cost for these licenses varies depending on the size and type of your venue and also how you intend to play the music, for example; through a pub jukebox or via a DJ. It’s also important to remember that if you do not take steps towards obtaining the correct licenses you could be prosecuted, facing a maximum fine of £10,000 and a prison sentence of up to 6 months.

To discuss your music licencing needs, we recommend that you contact PPL and PRS directly.