The Truth About Music, And Why You Should Always Take A Public Performance License

Some people often view music as a mere product like a car or meal, when in reality, it is an intellectual property, like the schematics of a car or recipe. Just as owning a Ford Focus doesn’t give you ownership of the car’s blueprints, owning a McDonald’s burger doesn’t give you ownership of the company’s recipe, or owing a bottle of Coke doesn’t entitle you to the company’s secret formula, simply owing a music CD or having a Spotify subscription doesn’t give you the rights to the music itself; you simply own the medium from which it is disseminated.

Public performance licenses are a fee you are required to pay record labels for the privilege of playing their music i.e. intellectual properties on a public forum. While many criticise the need for such royalties and see them as unfair and greedy, this usually stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of what music is. Here are a few reasons why you should always take a public performance license:

It’s The Law

The Copyright Act of 1957 make its necessary to pay copyright owners a royalty fee for using their music publically. Failure to do so is strictly punishable, with heavy fines, long court cases, and in extreme circumstances, possible jail time.

They’re Surprisingly Economical

Contrary to popular belief, public performance licenses, especially for background music, are extremely reasonably priced. For example, even if you’re the largest mall in the country, the annual cost for a public performance licence from PPL is just between INR 50-120 per day, depending on its size and footfall. For smaller businesses like retail stores and shops, this amount is substantially lower, often little more than INR 5,000 per year.

Excellent Variety

For just a token amount of money, you get the performance rights to hundreds of thousands of songs, considering that most public performance licensers represent a large number or record labels and the entirety of their musical output. For example, PPL India represents 300+ music labels with more than 1.5 million international and 0.8 million domestic songs, encompassing a plethora of genres and languages.

The Proceeds Go Straight To The Creators

Performance rights societies are non-profit organisations. This means that the entirety of the royalties collected (once processing and administration costs are deducted) go directly to the owners of the copyright i.e. the record labels, production houses, or individual artists represented by the public performance licensing company.

They Support The Music Industry

Great music is expensive to make, with enormous production and distribution charges, not to mention the huge risk factor. By purchasing a public performance licence, you’re supporting the music industry and the livelihoods of thousands of talented and hardworking people from around the world so that they may continue to create the amazing songs that touch us all at a personal level.

Music isn’t just another product. It’s something ethereal that improves the world around it and tames even the most vicious of beasts. If we want to live in a world where great music continues to be produced, paying a token amount for a public performance licence is certainly worth it.