Musical licensing and permissions – everything you need to know in one place 

Whether you are performing, writing, rehearsing or recording music, you’ll probably need to be covered by a licence. But knowing where to start, what you should consider and what you need to do can be confusing. This resource will introduce the permissions and licenses you may need and how to get them.

Even if your group has never needed a licence it’s worth taking some time to understand music licensing because: 

  • Understanding when and why you might need a licence will help you when planning and budgeting for the future
  • Licences allow music creators to be rewarded for their work and therefore to continue creating music in the future
  • If you make and/or perform music then licensing may become relevant to your group at some point even if it hasn’t been so far.


Below is a summary of what is covered in our guidance for members.

  1. What is copyright? An introduction to the different types of copyright and licensing issues you may encounter.
  2. Obtaining music: copyright, hiring and borrowing music, making arrangements, importing scores from overseas.
  3. Rehearsing music: sheet music copyright, photocopying music, making arrangements, recording rehearsals.
  4. Performing music: performing music live, playing recorded music, PRS fees.
  5. Recording and distributing music: recording rights, licensing for CDs and digital content.

We hope you find this Making Music resource useful. If you have any comments or suggestions about the guidance please contact us. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the content of this guidance is accurate and up to date, Making Music do not warrant, nor accept any liability or responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the content, or for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information contained in it.