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Music Factsheet 12
Music Licensing FAQs
This Factsheet addresses some of the common practical questions asked by teachers about music licensing. It is not intended as a guide to all the complexities of copyright and international licensing issues. If you need to find out more about music licensing, read Factsheet No. 11: Music, Copyright and the Dance Teacher, in particular the links and contacts given on the last page. Do not be afraid to contact licensing bodies directly – they are usually very willing to help, and will be able to offer advice on your specific situation.
1. What’s a PRS Licence? Do I need one?
PRS stands for ‘Performing Right Society’, an organisation known as a ‘collecting society’ which collects money on behalf of composers and publishers. To play music in public, you need a PRS licence, unless all the music that you play is out of copyright, or not licensed by the PRS. This is such an unlikely situation as to be almost impossible: even ‘Happy Birthday’ is in copyright, and requires a PRS licence when sung in public.
2. Do I need a PRS licence for my RAD classes?
We now recommend that teachers obtain a ‘blanket’ licence from PRS to cover their music use for all classes, including RAD syllabus. Although some RAD syllabus music is out of copyright, or is corporately owned by RAD, there are increasingly parts of the syllabus or related resources which are the copyright of third parties, and thus require a licence. The RAD itself has a PRS licence for the same reason.
3. I only use a small proportion of non-RAD music in my syllabus classes. Can I apply to PRS for a pro-rata discount? No. The only circumstances under which PRS (and PPL) will agree to a waiver of charges is for those classes where all the music used is out of copyright or the property of an Association who are not PRS publisher members. It is in the nature of a blanket licence to cover you for the use of one piece, or a hundred. There is no such thing as a ‘pro-rata’ licence where you only pay a proportion of the fee.
4. I always used to get a waiver for my RAD classes from PRS – why can’t I now?
Although there might be some cases where some teachers, in some countries, some of the time, might be eligible for a waiver on some classes, we now consider it in the best interests of our members – and in the interest of the teaching of dance generally - to advise them to get a blanket music licence which will cover them for all potential music use. The musical content of the RAD syllabus and teachers’ use of music are constantly changing, and the best way to ensure both compliance and freedom of choice is to obtain a blanket licence.
5. What’s a PPL licence? Do I need one?
Royal Academy of Dance® is a charity registered in England and Wales No. 312826
If you never use recorded music, you won’t need a PPL licence.
If in some of your classes you use RAD recordings exclusively (an RAD recording will have (P) RAD Enterprises Ltd” on it on the disc label) then you may discount those classes on your PPL form, because the RAD is not a member of PPL, and PPL do not collect on our behalf.
Note: PPL do not collect money on behalf of composers, only performers and record labels. You will still need a PRS licence to cover the rights of composers of underlying works.