Get the right licences for your tourist accommodation business

Music licences for tourism businesses


If you play music in your business, you are required by law to have a music licence. There are two types of music licences.

Performing Rights Society (PRS) licence 

You will need a PRS licence if you play any copyrighted music in public on your premises, including in reception areas and guest bedrooms.

A Music Licence permits you to play copyright music for your staff and customers in whatever way you choose. In your premises this might include:

  • music on TV channels (reception areas and guest bedrooms) 
  • radios, CD & MP3 players, digital music systems 
  • music on hold 
  • live bands and DJs 
  • karaoke machines 

PRS has a discretionary charging policy which waives music licence charges for tourist accommodation businesses:

  • that have 3 guest bedrooms or fewer
  • that are the owners' sole holiday accommodation business
  • that are also the domestic residence of the owner
  • that are not licensed for the sale of alcohol 
  • which facilities are only available to resident guests

This policy also applies to small B&Bs with three guest bedrooms or fewer as well as single unit self catering businesses with three bedrooms or fewer. PRS provide information on applying for a licence and how much it costs

Phonographic Performance Limited licences

While PRS licences relate to the copyright in the music itself, there is also a separate Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) licence which relates to the actual recording, whether on a CD, tape or record etc.

There are two types of PPL licence:

  • one is for the use of sound recordings as background music in foyers, bars and eating areas 
  • the other is for the use of sound recordings as a featured attraction on the premises (such as dances and discos) 

The cost of the licence varies according to use.