CS Kunal R. Sarpal

Kunal R. SarpalArjit Singh is due to perform is Pune in a few days and you are the organiser. Which is the first license you take? Here’s a takedown of what is de rigueur!

Phonographic Performance License (not-live performances)

Under the Copyright Act, 1957, it is mandatory to take a phonographic performance license for playing pre-recorded music in a public place, irrespective of commercial or non-commercial nature of the establishment or event.  Any communication or playing of pre-recorded music in commercial establishments like hotels, bars, cafes, gyms, restaurants, offices, shopping malls, airplanes and taxi or non-commercial places like college campus for concerts, fetes, festivals, etc requires license from the Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL).

PPL grants license to television, radio, telecom companies and organisations for using pre-recorded music. Moreover PPL grants license to establishment for playing background music or in events. An entity or establishment should take a separate license for playing of music in events like concerts, stage, dance-floor, and even for brand promotion activities, shows, etc.

If any entity plays pre-recorded music in a public place without taking PPL license may constitute violation of Copyright Act and is a cognisable and non-bail able offence.

Public Performance License (for live performances)

Another license that is important for establishment where music is communicated through live performance by musicians and singers, for example bars, pubs, events like concerts, shows, etc, and communication of the live performance through broadcasting medium and mechanical means like TV, internet and radio. It is important for the owner of the premises to take the license where such music is played.


  • It is a need based license.
  • The concerned authority for us sits in Mumbai.
  • Tariff chart is being sent independently.

(Author can be reached at [email protected])

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April 2021