Today i like to write about music licensing for private events. Even though every country has its own legal regulations, it generally matters if the event is public or private. The Performing Rights Organizations enforce the copyright. To list a few ASCAP, BMI,SESAC, PRS for music.

In the USA a private event, like a wedding, is royalty free if it also happens to be at a private venue. At a public venue, like a restaurant or hotel, the venue itself is responsible for the licenses and if the owner of the venue has no licenses with the Performing Rights Organizations, then only original music or music where they have copyright might be played. Either way the fees for licenses will not matter for you or the bridal pair.

A private event at a private venue is also royalty free in the UK. It is also free for private events in a public venue, when guests are personally invited, it is a privately-booked room with no access for the public, admission is not charged and the host has no financial gain.

In the case of a public event the owner of the venue would have to take care about the licenses.

ASCAP does not license DJs. It is the venue, establishment, or promoter of an event that is responsible for public performance licensing, not the performer. Private events such as weddings, etc. are exempt from licensing.
– Bryn Caryl, ASCAP
BMI licenses the “public performance” of music… events such as private parties and weddings are not required to have a license.
– Jaqui Garlan, BMI
Royalty fees are not collected for private performances.”
– David Derryberry, SESAC

PRS for Music does not make a charge for functions of a purely domestic or family nature, such as wedding receptions, christening parties or domestic birthday parties, when:

  • Attendance of guests is by personal invitation only (except for staff, performers, etc.)

  • The function is held in a privately-booked room, not at that time open to the general public

  • There is no form of charge made for admission

  • There is no financial gain to the function’s organiser or host (e.g. the person hiring the venue)

PRS for music Website

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