Industry changes to music licensing
If you play music in your classes, whether it’s circuit training, Pilates or aerobics, you will need to ensure that the music you use is properly licensed.
To play music for profit means that you will need to pay a fee to PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited). “Established in 1934, PPL exists to ensure that those who invest their time, talent and money to make recorded music are fairly paid for their work.”
The licensing of music can be a very confusing subject and you may hear various different stories. From 1 May 2013 there have also been some drastic changes to music licensing. Detailed below is the most recent information to help clarify the situation.
If you are setting up your own classes in a hall/office/school or other premises other than a fitness centre, you have 2 options:
1) Play PPL free music
You can purchase music which does not require a PPL license. This music is not usually played or sung by the original artist. PPL free music can be purchased from companies such as Jumpy Bumpy and Pure Energy Music. These companies will clearly state which of their CDs/downloads are PPL free and which require a license.
2) Pay a PPL license (fee-per-class tariff)
The instructor must estimate how many classes they will teach in a year and pay their music license based on how many classes they teach. This is currently set at 95p per class with a minimum spend of £47.50 plus VAT (which is 50 classes per year).
PPL have set increases each year, so remember to take this into consideration. See below:
- May 2014 - £1.25 per class
- May 2015 - £1.50 per class
- May 2016 - £1.75 per class
- May 2017 - £1.88 per class
What if I work for a leisure centre or private fitness club? Do I still need to pay for a license?
No you don’t. If you work for a fitness facility (public, private or local authority) it is the fitness facility’s responsibility to pay the license for the classes that their business provides and profits from. The fitness facility will pay a fee-per-class license to PPL. So you are not liable to pay music licensing in this instance.
I purchased a PPL license on 15 April 2013. Is this still valid?
Yes. If you purchased a PPL license prior to 1 May 2013 which is still running, your license is still valid and will run its course. You will need to move to the new system once your license ends.
I mix music together that I buy from i-tunes and CDs. Am I covered by the same PPL license?
No. You will require further licensing, see www.ppluk.com for details.
I teach tap dancing. Does this apply to me?
Teaching dance such as ballet and tap comes under a different licensing structure (dance teachers tariff or dance centre and studio tariff). Contact www.ppluk.com for details.
We use background music in the gym and already have a license for that so we wouldn’t need to pay this, would we?
Yes you do. Background music in public areas such as changing rooms, cafes and the gym all need to be charged under a separate tariff. See www.ppluk.com for details.
For more information see www.ppluk.com.
Tip: Type in the search engine ‘Exercise instructors’, or follow this link http://www.ppluk.com/I-Play-Music/Businesses/How-much-does-a-licence-cost/Business-type-1111111/.
Also see this link for further (more in depth) details: http://www.ppluk.com/Documents/Tariff%20PDFs/PPLPP222.pdf