Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) has issued a new tariff which will apply to all hotels, nightclubs, pubs and bars, restaurants and cafes who put on Specially Featured Entertainment (SFE) from 1 July 2019.

What is an SFE?

An SFE is the public performance of sound recordings where:

  • a DJ is used to play the sound recordings; or
  • there is dancing in the venue to the sound recordings – unless the performance is covered by another PPL tariff.

Live music is covered by a separate tariff.

In essence if you hold a club night with a DJ and/or dancing you will need to pay a tariff based on the number of people who actually attend the event. You are required to report the number of people who attend (excluding staff) and you are also required to keep written records of the attendance figures and the duration of all SFE events at your premises during the licence year.

The applicable tariff is calculated based on units of 1-25 people and the duration of the event.

So if 170 people attend this is 7 units of 1-25.

In year 1 the cost per person is 4p per hour or £1.00 per hour for each unit of 25 people. This rate will rise each year for 5 years – when it reaches 9p per person per hour – giving licencees a chance to adapt to the increases.

Example of costs

If 170 people attend an event for 3.5 hours, the fee payable in Year One will be:
£1.00 x 7 x 3.5 hours = £24.50. This is subject to PPL’s minimum annual fee per licensee.


The news of the above increases has not been well received by many. There has been a huge amount of criticism from industry bodies who say that the increase in PPL tariffs of over 130% on average will be yet another blow to struggling hospitality businesses and to the night time economy which is so essential to the future of our high streets.

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the present time and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.