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Playing music - License requirements

If you play recorded music at events or classes you will likely need to buy a license to do so,. Here's our thoughts on what's needed


The licencing of recorded tango music causes great confusion and consternation amongst

members. In general, a licence is required to play recorded music in public. Under The

Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 permission is needed from the relevant copyright

holders in order to play or perform music in public.

Obtaining a Music Licence gives you this permission, in relation to the vast majority of

commercially available music, including tango music recorded in Argentina from the 1920s


The Music Licence

The single licence is available from the company known as PPL PRS at:

There are several options of licence including reduced fees for one-off or charitable events.

You can get their advice on 0800 015 1772.

The Venue Owner

Most venues available for hire (such as village halls, pubs, clubs, hotels, dance studios,

churches etc) have the necessary licence (PRS licence) for music to be played there. Some

may have a Community Building licence. Where they do, then your performance will be

covered by their licence. It is a flat fee annual licence based on the community building’s

annual income. Some community buildings pass this onto hirers – others do not.

It is important that members check that the venue is suitably licenced. If it is not (for

example, playing in an open public space) then the member may be liable for the music


The player/performer of music is usually responsible for the PPL licence. PPL UK have been

licencing the playing of recorded music since 1934 in order to pay royalties to the

rightsholders, whether in the UK or abroad (as part of international reciprocal agreements).


Members can find out more on

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