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Playing Music Licence Manual

Playing and Performing Music in Church

As an agent for PRS for Music and PPL, CCLI offers two licences tailored to cover the use of music in church life. The PRS for Music Church Licence™ permits live music performances on church premises. Combine it with the PPL Church Licence™ and you’ll be covered to play commercial music recordings as well.

Please Note: PRS for Music and PPL, at their discretion, do not make a charge for music played or performed during ‘Acts of Divine Worship’ (regular church worship services) where no charge is made to attendees for admission.


With the PRS for Music Church Licence:

  • Perform live music on church premises
  • Hold up to six concerts/recitals per year
  • Combine it with the CCLI® Church Video Licence™ to show films outside of Acts of Worship
  • Separate church halls are covered for church and third-party groups provided you pass the predominance test (see below)
  • You’re covered for music tuition to individuals or groups

With the addition of the PPL Church Licence:

  • Play commercial music recordings (CDs, MP3s, Music DVDs etc.), for example, during parent and toddler groups, youth clubs, events, socials, coffee mornings, fetes and bazaars
  • Hold discos, dances, karaoke and keep-fit classes on church premises
  • Music within computer games and games consoles is covered
  • Combined with a TV licence (and appropriate pay-to-view subscription if required) show live television broadcasts
  • Include hold music on your telephone system

 

Essential Information

 

Why Two Licences?

PRS for Music act on behalf of the songwriter(s) or owners. PPL act on behalf of the performer(s) and record companies.  In a music recording all rights exist even if they are held by the same artist/publisher.


Acts of Divine Worship

Both PRS for Music and PPL currently waive the licence requirement for music (worship and secular) played or performed during Acts of Worship, such as regular worship services, weddings and funerals, provided no entry charge is made.


What’s covered: Congregation or Premises?

While the PPL Church Licence covers your congregation wherever an activity or event takes place, PRS for Music licences cover the venue rather than the congregation. Therefore, if your church wishes to host an event in a venue that isn’t your church building, that venue will need to covered separately by PRS for Music, even if the church holds a PRS for Music Church Licence.

If your church doesn’t own or isn’t the sole lessee of the premises it meets in, please contact CCLI for further information.


The Predominance Test

If your church hall is separate, it can still be covered under your PRS for Music Church Licence.  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 for Music will license the hall as a separate building. If in any doubt, please contact CCLI.


Other Exclusions and Exceptions

  • If more than six concerts/recitals are held on your church premises each year, it will be deemed a concert venue by PRS for Music and must be licensed directly with them.
  • These licences do not cover music use on your website/social media pages. For this, a Limited Online Music Licence may be required directly from PRS for Music.
  • Cathedrals, Abbeys and large Minsters are typically licensed directly by PRS for Music.
  • Dramatic performances such as musicals, operas and ballets (known as Grand Rights works) are not covered by PRS for Music and you will need to contact the rights holder directly for permission to perform them publicly.
  • ‘Home Groups’ and private functions such as birthday parties are considered private occasions and do not require licensing.

Reporting

A general report of music use on church premises is required by PPL once a year (ideally towards the end of your licence period). No reporting is currently required by PRS for Music. More on reporting.


Recording Your Services/Meetings

The CCLI® Church Copyright Licence™  includes certain MCPS rights to record services, including any live worship/music, for limited distribution. However, ‘dubbing’ (making a recording which includes pre-recorded music such as from a CD or MP3) is not permitted under the CCL nor covered by the PRS for Music and PPL Church Licences. For this, a Limited Manufacture Licence is required directly from PRS for Music.


Licensing an Event

If you only wish to play music for a limited period, such as during a mission week, a 14-day PPL Church Event Licence may suffice. However, your venue will also need to be covered by an annual PRS for Music Church Licence, or directly by PRS for Music.


Further Information

Licence Fees
View the annual fees for the PRS for Music Church Licence as well as annual and event licence fees for the PPL Church Licence.

Licence Terms
View the full Terms of Agreement for our church licences.

FAQs
Search Frequently Asked Questions about playing music and live music performances in church.

Fact Files
These printable fact-files looks at the copyright considerations when playing music in church:
Playing and Performing Music
Audio and Video Recording
Showing Films
The Church And The Internet
TV Broadcasts, Satellite and Cable
Weddings and Funerals

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