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PRS for Music PMS185 Logo [Converted] for webThrough an agency agreement with PRS for Music, CCLI can provide a licence permitting you to use music during a variety of church activities*.

The PRS for Music Church Licence is required when playing music in activities such as:

*If music is played from a commercial recording in any of the above activities (except showing films) then you’ll also require a PPL Church Licence as these two licences cover different rights within the recorded work.

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Exclusions

The PRS for Music and PPL Church Licences are not currently required for music played or performed during Acts of Worship (regular services, weddings/funerals) provided that no entry charge is made.

Church Halls

Your PRS for Music Church Licence will cover your church hall if it is integral (accessed internally from the church building).

If your hall is a separate building, even within the curtilage of the church, then your church PRS for Music Church Licence will cover it provided that the predominant use of music in the hall is by and for the church congregation. In all other cases the hall will need to be licensed directly with PRS for Music.

Cathedrals, Abbeys, Minsters and Concert Venues

CCLI cannot usually provide a PRS for Music Church Licence for Cathedrals, Abbeys and large Minsters, or church premises which PRS for Music deems to be a concert venue (typically where six or more concerts are held each year). In these cases a licence can be obtained directly from PRS for Music. Contact us if you’re in any doubt.

Licence Fees

The annual cost of the PRS for Music Church Licence is based on the average aggregate attendance at your main service. If you’re already a CCLI licence holder, we’ll calculate the fee pro-rata to the expiry date of your existing licence(s). Contact us for details.

PRS for Music Church Licence
Attendance Category Licence Fee
1 - 14 AH £23.48
15 - 49 A £35.46
50 - 99 B £66.13
100 - 249 C £108.76
250 - 499 D £151.38
500 - 999 E £200.71
1000 - 1499 F £248.69
1500 - 2999 G £308.62
3000 - 4999 H £391.21
5000 - 9999 I £531.16

Terms of Agreement apply.

Frequently Asked Questions

Live Music

The PRS for Music Church Licence permits you to play live music on church premises. This includes dances, concerts etc.

You don’t need a licence for live music in Sunday and mid-week services (e.g. hymns and worship songs) or any other act of divine worship. This is a concession made by PRS for Music.

The licence covers all PRS for Music members’ works including both religious and secular compositions.

Sound recordings

The PRS for Music Church Licence* permits you to play sound recordings (pre-recorded media such as CD, tape, DVD etc.) on church premises. This includes discos, dances, aerobic or keep-fit classes, background music played at events, coffee mornings and fetes etc.

You don’t need a performance licence to play sound recordings during Sunday and mid-week services or any other act of divine worship. This is a concession made by PRS for Music.

The licence covers all PRS members’ works including both religious and secular compositions.

*The PPL Church Licence

You will also require a PPL Church Licence to play sound recordings during church activities, except for during acts of divine worship - this is a concession made by PPL.

Television Broadcasts

A television licence is required in order to show live TV/broadcasts in public. You also require both a PPL Church Licence and a PRS for Music Church licence to cover any music included in the broadcast, unless the programme is shown during an act of divine worship, for example a Remembrance Day broadcast.

NB: You are not permitted to play your own recordings of TV programmes in public.

Concerts

The live music at a church concert is covered by the PRS for Music Church Licence. However, if you hold more than six concerts per year, on average, then PRS for Music may deem your premises to be a concert venue in which case they will license you direct.

Films / DVDs

Since films and DVDs invariably include music on the soundtrack, a PRS for Music Church Licence is required for the public performance of a film/DVD. This includes films shown at social events, film clubs, kids clubs etc. However, a PPL Church Licence is not required for the public performance of films/DVDs.

You don’t need a PRS for Music Church Licence to cover the soundtrack of a film scene played during Sunday and mid-week services, or any other act of divine worship. This is a concession made by PRS for Music.

Act of Divine Worship

Technically, all music performance in the UK requires a licence, including singing hymns and worship songs during Sunday services. However, PRS for Music has agreed to waive the requirement for music performance licences during acts of divine worship. This is a concession.

If the only times that your church ever performs live music and/or sound recordings are during acts of divine worship then you do not require a PRS for Music Church Licence.

NB: By an ‘act of divine worship’, we generally mean Sunday and mid-week congregational services, plus any other occasion, such as study groups or prayer meetings, where hymns and worship songs are sung. However, having a hymn at the start of a social event, film night or youth club does not make that event an act of divine worship and a music performance licence may still be required if other music is performed.

Music on Hold

If your church plays ‘music on hold’ on its telephone system you will require a PRS for Music Church Licence*.

* The PPL Church Licence

You will also require a PPL Church Licence to cover ‘music on hold’ on a church telephone system

Music on our Website

If your church plays music in the background on its website, this is not covered by the PRS for Music Church Licence. You will need to contact PRS for Music for an additional licence.

Is my Church Hall Covered Too?

Integral Church Hall

If the church hall is an integral part of the main church building then the PRS for Music Church Licence will cover the entire building including the hall.

Separate Building

If the hall is a separate building, whether or not it is within the curtilage of the church, then a Predominance Test must be made for the hall.

Predominance Test

If the activities in the hall during which music is played are run predominantly by and for the church congregation or church groups then the hall is deemed covered by the church’s licence. Otherwise PRS will license the hall as a separate building. If in any doubt, please contact CCLI.

Music Festivals

A music festival is a series of concerts in a short space of time and could be at various venues. Generally, music festivals are licensed direct by PRS for Music, often to the festival organiser and they are treated separately from other events at a church or church hall. Therefore, a PRS for Music Church Licence will not normally cover concerts/events that are part of a music festival. However, please contact CCLI or PRS for Music to see if your event counts as a music festival.

Festival concerts/events licensed directly by PRS for Music do not count towards the annual average of six concerts permitted under the PRS for Music Church Licence.

Musicals

Music which is specially written for dramatic performances, such as musicals, operas and ballets (also known as Grand Right works) is not covered by PRS for Music. To use this music, you need to get permission from the rights holder directly, which is usually the music publisher.

Do I need a PPL Church Licence as well?

Live Music Performances

The public performance rights in live music are administered only by PRS for Music. Therefore, only a PRS for Music Church Licence is required to play/perform live music in public*.

Sound Recordings

The public performance rights in sound recordings are split between PPL and PRS for Music.

There are three distinct groups of people who have performance rights in a sound recording, for example a CD:

  • The copyright owners & composers of the songs administered by PRS for Music
  • The group or artist performing the song on the CD administered by PPL
  • The record company or manufacturer of the CD administered by PPL

Consequently you need a PRS for Music Church Licence and a PPL Church Licence in order to play/perform sound recordings in public*.

See also Films / DVDs.

*Neither licence is required for public performance during an act of divine worship.

How much is the PRS for Music Church Licence?

PRS for Music Church Licence
Attendance Category Licence Fee
1 - 14 AH £23.48
15 - 49 A £35.46
50 - 99 B £66.13
100 - 249 C £108.76
250 - 499 D £151.38
500 - 999 E £200.71
1000 - 1499 F £248.69
1500 - 2999 G £308.62
3000 - 4999 H £391.21
5000 - 9999 I £531.16

Cathedrals, Abbeys & Minsters

CCLI is not able to license all churches. Generally, those excluded are Cathedrals, Abbeys and large Minsters because they are often deemed concert venues. If in doubt, please contact CCLI.

Music Rehearsals

If there are choirs / bands etc. rehearsing on your premises, these are not deemed to be music performances and are therefore not chargeable by PRS for Music. If this is the only time music is played on your premises then you do not need the PRS for Music Church Licence.

Music Tuition / Lessons

If you have individual or group music tuition taking place on your premises you need the PRS for Music Church Licence.

The Law has changed

The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) was amended with effect from 1 January 2011. The changes affect not-for-profit organisations such as charities, community halls, churches, voluntary organisations and social enterprises.

Consultation
There was a lengthy government consultation process, during which CCLI registered its opposition to the proposed changes. Prior to 1 January 2011 not-for-profit organisations were exempt from paying public performance fees to PPL for various uses of recorded music under Section 67 of the CDPA. This exemption has now been removed.

What does this mean for churches?
If sound recordings are played during church activities, or during direct activities of the church in the local community (church ftes, outreach events etc.) you now require a PPL Church Licence.
See Exceptions.

Sound recordings

A sound recording is music that has been pre-recorded on a mechanical format such as CD, cassette tape, music DVD etc. and includes music broadcast on radio and television.

Performance licences are required if sound recordings are played in a public setting, such as church activities. However, a PPL Church Licence is not required for the public performance of films even if music is on the film soundtrack.

Note: Other licences may also be required for the public performance of films (DVDs, Videos), Radio & TV.

The PPL Church Licence

If you play sound recordings during your church activities (excluding acts of Divine Worship), or if groups using your premises play sound recordings, a PPL Church Licence is required.

Activities include discos, dances, aerobic or keep-fit classes, background music played at events, coffee mornings, ftes etc.

Some occasions do not require a church to have a PPL Church Licence. Please see Exceptions.

Exceptions

Certain occasions do not require a church to have a PPL Church Licence, as follows:

Acts of Divine worship
PPL has agreed not to require a licence for Divine worship, matching the arrangement with PRS for Music. More information
Weddings/Funerals
These are deemed domestic occasions, not public. However, if the wedding or funeral is being audio/video recorded (on a video camera or phone) whilst sound recordings are being played then those making the recording require a Limited Manufacture Licence, available from PRSforMusic.com/lm
Church Home Groups
These are deemed domestic occasions, not public.
Live Concerts
No PPL Church Licence is required if only live music is played.
NB: A PRS for Music Church Licence is required for live music performances.
Private Functions
Events such as birthday/Christmas parties are deemed domestic occasions.
Showing Films
Even though a film soundtrack often includes music/sound recordings, a PPL Church Licence is not required for the public performance of films.

If the above exceptions are the only times sound recordings are played during church activities then you do not need a PPL Church Licence. However, if sound recordings are also played at other times then you do require a licence.

I already have a PRS for Music licence for sound recordings

There are three distinct groups of people who have performance rights in a sound recording, for example a CD:

  1. The copyright owners & composers of the songs administered by PRS for Music
  2. The group or artist performing the song on the CD administered by PPL
  3. The record company or manufacturer of the CD administered by PPL

Consequently you need a PRS for Music Church Licence and a PPL Church Licence in order to play/perform sound recordings in public*.

*Neither licence is required for public performance during an act of divine worship.

Other groups use our church / hall

Sound recordings played during non-commercial activities by third parties (lettings) on your church premises are covered by the PPL Church Licence.

Sound recordings played during commercial activities by third parties (lettings) on your church premises are not covered by the PPL Church Licence.

Some national organisations undertaking commercial activities, such as Weight-Watchers and Tumble Tots, are not covered, but are likely to have their own licensing arrangements with PPL.

Please advise any third parties who run commercial activities on your church premises, to contact PPL directly and make their own licensing arrangements.

We don't own our church premises

Many churches meet in Community Centres or schools and do not own the premises.

If the host Community Centre/School etc. has its own PPL licence it will cover any of your activities that take place on their premises, but not any activities that take place off-site. Churches will need to check with the owners of the host premises to ensure the appropriate licence is in place.

Our church hall is separately licensed by PRS for Music. Will PPL license our hall separately too?

Yes. PPL and PRS for Music have developed a joint Community Buildings licence scheme. Visit the PRS for Music website for more information.

Are any recording rights included in the PPL Church Licence?

The PPL Church Licence does not permit you to audio/video record whilst sound recordings are played during services.

The Church Copyright Licence permits you to record services (including the live music) for non-commercial purposes. However, it does not permit you to record any portion of the service when music is being played from a sound recording since this would constitute dubbing. A Limited Manufacture licence is required, available from www.PRSforMusic.com/lm

How much is the PPL Church Licence?

PPL Church Licence
Attendance Category Licence Fee
1 - 14 AH £23.48
15 - 49 A £35.46
50 - 99 B £66.13
100 - 249 C £108.76
250 - 499 D £151.38
500 - 999 E £200.71
1000 - 1499 F £248.69
1500 - 2999 G £308.62
3000 - 4999 H £391.21
5000 - 9999 I £531.16

Do we need to report what we play?

As with other CCLI licences, it is necessary to complete a report, but it will be a very simple process and you wonÕt need to tell us about each individual track or artist played.

Our CopyReport software has already been updated to include the PPL Church Licence report and is available to download free of charge from our website: uk.ccli.com/copyreport.

Please ensure your report includes all groups and activities covered by your licence.

What is PPL?

Phonographic Performance Ltd. is an organisation which represents the rights of performers and record companies for the public performance and broadcast of sound recordings and music videos. CCLI has been appointed by PPL to make the PPL Church Licence available to churches.

Are PPL and PRS for Music the same?

No. PPL and PRS for Music are two separate companies (CCLI acts as an agent to both). Whilst carrying out similar functions the two organisations operate independently, represent different rights holders and have separate tariffs, terms and conditions. PPL collects and distributes money for the use of recorded music, on behalf of record companies and performers. PRS for Music collects and distributes money for the use of music and lyrics on behalf of songwriters, composers and publishers. Playing recorded music in public legally requires you to obtain both licences.

ActivityLicence(s) Required
If only live music is performedPRS for Music Church Licence.
If a sound recording is playedPRS for Music Church Licence and PPL Church Licence.

Acts of Divine Worship

Technically, all music performance in the UK requires a licence. However, PPL has agreed to waive the requirement for music performance licences during acts of divine worship. This is a concession.

If the only times that your church ever performs sound recordings are during acts of divine worship then you do not require a PPL Church Licence.

NB: By an Ôact of divine worshipÕ, we generally mean Sunday and mid-week congregational services, plus any other occasion, such as study groups or prayer meetings, where hymns and worship songs are sung. However, having a hymn at the start of a social event, film night or youth club does not make that event an act of divine worship and a music performance licence may still be required if other music is performed.

Further Information

Fact File: Playing & Performing Music In Church

This printable PDF provides more information about the PRS for Music and PPL Church Licences and when they are required.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs about playing and performing music in church