A summary of the licences a hotel owner must have in place to provide televisions or music in the hotel.

TV Licences

Hotels are required to have TV licences in place to enable staff and guests to watch or record live television on any channel and to download or watch any programmes on BBC iPlayer. Failure to have a TV licence in place may result in prosecution and a large fine plus legal costs and compensation.

Reduced TV licence fees are available for hotels, based upon the number of ‘accommodation units’ (rooms) in which TV receiving equipment is installed or used. One TV licence of £145.50 will cover up to 15 accommodation units on each site. There is then an additional fee of £145.50 for every 5 extra units.

For more information on the TV licensing requirements for hotels and how to apply for a hotel TV licence, please refer to the TV Licensing website (http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/).

Music Licences

At least two licences are required to play recorded music in public (whether live, via CDs, tapes, records, radio, TV, background music or other sources) under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Failure to obtain a licence for playing music in public amounts to copyright infringement and may result in civil action being taken.

Most hotel businesses will need to obtain music licences from both PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd) and PRS for Music (Performing Rights Society). PPL and PRS for Music manage the rights to and licence the music of their members. While PPL collects royalties on behalf of record companies and performers, PRS for Music collects royalties on behalf of authors and songwriters.

For the public performance of sound recordings solely as background music via a telephone music on hold system a licence is required, based on the number of external lines per switchboard.

PPL and PRS for Music each have specific hotel music licensing tariffs in place.

PRS for Music

The PRS for Music hotel tariff is based on the number of bedrooms, how the music is played, where the music is played and if the music is played on hold. If a hotel business uses a DJ for any of its events, the DJ may need a separate ‘ProDub’ licence to play music at the hotel.

An important detail to be aware of in relation to the PRS for Music tariff, is that higher royalty rates (the standard rate plus 50%) are payable for the first year of the music licence if the user has not previously obtained a licence. Currently, the higher royalty for hotels with 15 bedrooms or less is being waived.


The PPL hotel tariffs depend on the type of business, the size of the area that music can be heard, how the music is used and the type of social activity the music is used for. Different tariffs apply for background music, the supply of recorded music to hotel rooms, for hotels which have up to 15 bedrooms (and where facilities are only available to guests) and for music played in separate businesses within a hotel, for example a gym or salon.

PPL offers concessionary rates in certain circumstances. For example, if the hotel has an audible area of 50m2 or less and only traditional radio or TV broadcasts are used, a concessionary licence fee of 50% of the annual fee is applied.

It is important to be aware that if the hotel business played recorded music in public without obtaining a PPL licence, PPL may apply a 50% surcharge to the standard rates.

For further information on the music licence tariffs, please refer to the PRS for Music website (https://www.prsformusic.com/Pages/default.aspx) and the PPL website (http://www.ppluk.com/).

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.