Impact & insights of Bombay High court's order for paying the license fee for playing songs: Rajat Kakar, MD & CEO, PPL India

When you take a PPL license, it states that you are compliant to the copyright law and the music played at your event/establishment is legal.


We have just concluded an incredible holiday season. Hope everyone heartily savoured the Christmas & New Year cake along with the glass of wine and shook a leg to the best of chartbusters. But did you party at a place that has taken a license for public performance?

‘Public Performance’ a term, misinterpreted by many. Let’s break it down to simpler words - if sound recordings are used as a background music or are played at an event by commercial establishments publicly, a license from PPL is mandatory. Such establishments can be discotheques, clubs, bars, lounges, hotels, malls, salons, hospitals, retail stores, etc.

PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) India, is a music licensing company, affiliated globally to IFPI (International Federation of Phonographic Industry), licensing and monetising such public performance rights and radio broadcasting rights for over 3 million national and international songs across 350+ top-notch music labels like Aditya Music, Anand Audio, Lahari Music, Muzik 247, Saregama, Sony Music, Speed Records, SVF Music, Times Music, T-Series, Universal Music, Venus to name a few.

For each kind of establishment, we have well-defined and reasonable tariffs in place. These are reviewed and approved by our members at every AGM and forms the basis of licensing and are used by our personnel across the nation.

The most common query to be answered here is the benefit derived by taking a PPL license. The major advantage is the benefit of compliance. When you take a PPL license, it states that you are compliant to the copyright law and the music played at your event/establishment is legal. The basis of collecting this license fees is that the rightful owners of these are fairly compensated.

India is a country where no celebration is complete without shaking a leg to the best of the chartbusters. Recreational activities like Antakshari, Karaoke, etc. are the ones that Indians have grown up with. It’s a market where people relish the entire music industry and can do its bit by paying back to the industry professionals for their efforts with a PPL license.

The High court orders from Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Punjab & Haryana have highly contributed to our efforts of compensating the rightful owners of the sound recordings used at events and/or establishments. These orders reserved restaurants, pubs and hotels, cafes, bars and resorts across the country from playing popular copyrighted songs in their premises without making payment to PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) and taking a license, giving copyright permissions for the same, from them. This is applicable to all usage of music including but not restricted to Christmas and New Year's eve.

It’s extremely wonderful to witness the surge in the number of licenses issued since the order has been passed and people have come forward willingly to make India a compliant society.

The masses need to understand that, we are a non-profit organization, appointed by the record labels to collect and distribute royalties on their behalf. The amount received on issuing a license is distributed amongst these record labels registered as members with us. This fees is then utilised in scouting and launching new talent & songs that become a part of our cultural ethos.

At large, the establishments need to realise the fact that getting a PPL license is like getting any other license required for a business and represents that they are compliant to the copyright law and the music they play is played by the rules. This would ultimately make us proud contributors to the huge music industry that is making waves all around the world.

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