Do You Listen to Music at Work?

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Do You Listen to Music at Work?

prsformusiclogoI wonder how many of you have ever considered whether you need a music license to play music whilst you are at work? So many small businesses have the radio on in the background as something to break the silence of an office environment. When I ran my holiday car hire call centre, we used to have it on in the background to pick up any breaking news that might have happened that day, such as on 9/11. On that day, we at least knew why our phones stopped ringing! But should I have had a license for this? I had never considered it as a business owner until I took a call the other day….

Whislt working away in my office, in the middle of a website build, the telephone rang.  Rather than let it go to answering machine, I answered it. First mistake of this telephone call!  A rather pleasant young girl asked me if I had a few moments to answer some questions. I’d just done a telesales campaign myself and was feeling the love for that role so said yes as long as it’s a few minutes. So the call went like this;

Caller – Do you have members of the public in your office?

Me – No

Caller – Do you play music in your office?

Me – No

Caller – Do you listen to the radio in your office?

Me – Sometimes

Caller – How long have you been at your premises?

Me – Oh just moved here last year. (I would point out I was pleased I didn’t get this call last year as the answer would have been oh 10 years)

Caller – Well I can tell you that you require a license to play the radio in your office and I will get an invoice raised for you today. You have 30 days to pay it and if you don’t we add interest!

Me – Er What how did that happen?

Caller – It’s the law and you have to pay!

As you can imagine the conversation went on a little longer but in the end I was told the invoice was on its way and I had to pay. True to her word it arrived a couple of days later for the grand sum of 145.31

The charge was for the time that I had said I had been at my office and for the following year plus VAT. I have since learnt a lot about PRS and PPL and my only advice to you would be; get a license if you are more than 1 person working in your office with music playing in the background, or if you have customers that come into your premises where you play music. If you are a sole trader working alone with no visitors whilst your music is on then you are fine. I have been promised a refund as I work alone so should never have been invoiced in the first place. For more information on PPL see online or to determine if you need a license to listen to music see online information on the PRS license


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