Coronavirus update

The 2020 Fringe is not going ahead as planned.

Read the Chief Executive's update

Read the statement from the August Edinburgh festivals

We also provide resources and guidance from arts industry and government to help support our artists and partners.

The Fringe Society want to do everything we can to support Fringe artists and partners during this time. Our team are here for you, so please do get in touch with us by emailing [email protected].  

 

Every registered Fringe show must fill in a PPL PRS declaration form, whether it uses music or not. 

The PPL PRS declaration form for 2020’s Fringe will be available here from the start of July. If you don’t submit this online form, we’ll automatically deduct 4% of your box office takings from your payout to account for any undeclared use of licensed music.

We’ve provided more information on the form below, along with information on music licensing at the Fringe in general.

The deadline for completing 2019’s PPL PRS declaration form has now passed. If you would like to submit information relating to the music used in your Fringe show, please contact [email protected].

Many factors can influence a show or venue’s potential need for a music licence. The information on this page describes the various licensing elements Fringe companies should be aware of. 

Please note: this information applies only to music licensing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Many elements apply outside the Fringe, but the arrangement we have in place with PPL PRS Ltd is specific to the Fringe. You shouldn’t apply this guidance to any events that are not registered with the Fringe Society.

Each year we negotiate an arrangement with PPL PRS Ltd, the UK’s music licensing organisation. The deal ensures all Fringe companies and venues are appropriately licensed for the events they’re hosting. 

It also simplifies the music licensing process for Fringe companies and sets out a tariff of music licence fees. This tariff is at a reduced rate compared to the tariff you’d pay for the same events outside of the Fringe. 

The deal is also a blanket licensing arrangement; this means no direct permission is required from any rightsholder for the use of musical compositions or recordings within the repertoire of PRS, PPL or any of their affiliate licensing bodies around the world.
We collect music licensing information via the PPL PRS declaration form.

This information helps us calculate any licence fees you need to pay to cover your show’s music use; we then automatically deduct this from your Fringe Box Office payout. 
 

In 2018 the Performing Rights Society for Music (PRS for Music, or PRS) and Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) merged to form PPL PRS Ltd. Despite this merger, the two organisations still collect licence fees covering two different kinds of music rights. If you’re using music in your Fringe show, you may be required to pay a music licence fee to cover you for one, or both, of these licensing areas.

PRS fees relate to the use of musical compositions. These fees are distributed as royalties to composers who have registered their compositions with PRS or an affiliated performing rights organisation such as APRA in Australia or ASCAP in the US.

PPL fees relate to the use of specific musical recordings. These fees are distributed as royalties to the rightsholders of that recording, such as record labels and the musicians who played on the recording in question. As with PRS, PPL can collect fees on behalf of affiliate organisations around the world. 

So, if in your show you play a live cover of Yellow Submarine by the Beatles, only a PRS licence would be required. If in your show you dance to the recording of Yellow Submarine that features on the Beatles’ album Revolver, both a PRS and a PPL licence would be required.

Paying a PRS fee will not affect whether you need to pay a PPL fee. Likewise, paying a PPL fee does not affect your potential need to pay a PRS fee. You may need to pay one, both or neither of these fees; regardless, you’ll still need to complete a PPL PRS declaration form.

We’ve put together some examples that demonstrate where PRS and PPL fees apply and where they do not.


Scenario 1: A show features chart music that is danced to by the performers on stage. The music is being played through Spotify.

  • PRS ✓ – The vast majority of chart releases are compositions that are in copyright and will have been registered with PRS or an affiliated music licensing body. Unless you know that is not the case for the pieces of music being used, which would be unusual, PRS would apply here.
  • PPL ✓ – PPL will apply to this music use. In the vast majority of cases, chart recordings on Spotify will have been registered with PPL or an affiliate.

Scenario 2: A show features a musician playing live covers of songs by Bruce Springsteen.

  • PRS ✓ – As the compositions are in copyright and will have been registered with a PRS-affiliated rights body, PRS fees will apply.
  • PPL X – As no recorded music is used, there’s no need to pay a PPL fee.

Scenario 3: A show features a sequence in which performers dance to a recording of a Beethoven piece. The recording was released recently and not made by anyone known to the company staging the show.

  • PRS X – As Beethoven’s compositions are no longer in copyright, PRS fees do not apply.
  • PPL ✓ – Though the compositions themselves are out of copyright, the recording has been recently released and was not created specifically for the show, so PPL fees are required.

Scenario 4: A show features a recording of a Beyoncé song that has been made by a company member specifically for the show and is referenced on stage by a performer.

  • PRS ✓ – Though the recording has been made in-company, rights still apply to the original composition, so a PRS fee will be due.
  • PPL X – As long as the company member’s recording has not been registered with PPL or an affiliate, a fee would not be required. There are still rights connected to the recording, however, so the company should have a defined arrangement around its use with the company member who made it.

Scenario 5: A show features original music that was written and recorded specifically for the show.

  • PRS X – As long as the compositions haven’t been registered with PRS or an affiliate, no fee is required. 
  • PPL X – As long as the recordings haven’t been registered with PPL or an affiliate, no fee is required.

In the following situations, a show would not need to pay a music licensing fee. However, even if your show’s music use falls under any of these categories, you’ll still need to fill in the declaration form.

  • The music is featured in a free show.
  • No music is used in the show.
  • The only music used in the show is:
    • background music – music played in the space or venue before or after the show.
    • incidental music – music that is not danced to, referenced, performed in any way or ‘heard’ by a character on stage.
    • curtain music – music as the curtain rises or falls during the show.
    • scene-change music – music between scenes when no performance is taking place.
      This kind of music use is covered by a venue-level Background Music Licence. Venues can purchase temporary background music licences from the Fringe Society if the premises aren’t covered by an annual licence.
  • Walk-on / walk-off music does not require a PRS fee but can require a PPL fee.
  • When the music is out of copyright.
    • PRS – musical compositions go out of copyright 70 years after the calendar year of the composer’s death.
    • PPL – a recording of a piece of music goes out of copyright 70 years after its release.
    • The copyright status of a composition is unaffected by the copyright status of the recording it’s featured on, and vice versa.
  • When the music has not been registered with PRS, PPL or an affiliated licensing body.
    • You’ll generally know this is the case because you’ll personally know the composer / rightsholder, or you’ll have purchased or acquired the music from a source that explicitly states no royalties are required for its use.
    • If you don’t know whether a musical composition or recording has been registered with PRS or PPL, you should assume that it has.
    • Copyright still applies to music that has not been registered with PRS or PPL; you’ll need to come to an arrangement with the rightsholder directly if this hasn’t already been stated.
  • When your music use falls under Grand Rights. This is when you’re performing an existing dramatic or musical work that includes in-copyright music, but your licence to use that music is contained within the larger licence to perform the show itself. For example, if you have the rights to perform the musical Singin’ in the Rain, you’ll automatically have the right to perform the song Singin’ in the Rain in the context of that show.

When a show is required to pay a PRS and / or PPL fee, we calculate it using the information on the declaration form. We automatically deduct these fees from a show’s Fringe Box Office payout.

We calculate the PRS fee as a percentage of total ticket sales. This means that, if you’ve been selling tickets directly or through your venue, we’ll be in touch with you or your venue to confirm details of all sales made outside the Fringe Box Office, so we can ensure the fee is accurate. If you don’t submit a PRS declaration form but have indicated during registration that you may require a PRS licence, you’ll be charged a default fee at the highest rate (see tariff, below). If you or your venue don’t supply sales information, we’ll calculate fees on the assumption that all tickets not available through the Fringe Box Office have been sold.

The tariff of PRS fees for 2019 is detailed below. The tariff for 2020 is still to be confirmed, but there are no plans for the fee structure to be adjusted in any significant way, so you can still refer to this as a guide.

Type of Show Music Use Charge
Any show including free shows, with capacity of 1,000 or more Any These events must be licensed directly by PRS for Music.

Please call direct on 0800 068 4828 to arrange a licence.
Free show, with capacity of less than 1,000 Any PRS for Music will make no charge for music played at these events, in exchange for advertising of PRS for Music’s support.

This advertising will be the responsibility of the Fringe Society and Fringe venues.

Shows are still required to submit a PRS for Music declaration through the Fringe Society form.

Other shows, with capacity of less than 1,000

Shows using only incidental, curtain music and music during scene changes PRS for Music will not make a separate charge for these, assuming a background music licence is in place for the premises.

Shows are still required to submit a PRS for Music declaration through the Fringe Society form.
  2 mins or less PRS for Music will make no charge for music played at these events, in exchange for advertising of PRS for Music’s support.

This advertising will be the responsibility of the Fringe Society and Fringe venues.

Shows are still required to submit a PRS for Music declaration through the Fringe Society form.
  Over 2 and no more than 15 mins 0.5% of total ticket receipts.

Please submit a PRS for Music declaration through the Fringe Society form.
  Over 15 and no more than 30 mins 1.5% of total ticket receipts.

Please submit a PRS for Music declaration through the Fringe Society form.
  Over 30 mins 4% of total ticket receipts.

Please submit a PRS for Music declaration through the Fringe Society form.
Music show, with a capacity of less than 1,000 Any 4% of total ticket receipts.

Please submit a PRS for Music declaration through the Fringe Society form.

 

The tariff of PPL fees for 2019 is detailed below. The tariff for 2020 is still to be confirmed, but there are no plans for the fee structure to be adjusted in any significant way, so you can still refer to this as a guide.

Definitions:

  • Amateur Performances: where money derived from the show is to cover expenses, transportation, production costs, etc.
  • Professional Performances: where the aim of the performance is to drive an income (even if no income is made), eg for a wage, to generate revenue, advertising for a professional show later in the year, etc.
    Royalties due per performance (excluding VAT):

Amateur performances

Minutes of recorded music per performance


 
Performance space capacity
0-50 51-100 101-150 150 or more
Up to 3 minutes £0.50 £0.75 £1.00 £1.25
3 to 30 minutes £0.94 £1.14 £1.34 £1.54
31 to 60 minutes £1.14 £1.34 £1.54 £1.74
61 to 90 minutes £1.34 £1.54 £1.74 £1.94
90+ minutes £1.54 £1.74 £1.94 £2.14

The fees payable per production will be capped at £66.20 irrespective of the number of performances. 

Professional performances

Minutes of recorded music per performance Performance space capacity
0-50 51-100 101-150 151-200 201-250 250 or more
0.01 - 2.5 minutes £1.03 £1.38 £1.74 £2.09 £2.44 £2.79
2.51 - 5 minutes £1.47 £1.97 £2.48 £2.98 £3.48 £3.98
5.01 - 10 minutes £2.95 £3.95 £4.96 £5.96 £6.97 £7.97
10.01 - 15 minutes £4.43 £5.93 £7.44 £8.95 £10.45 £11.96
15.01 - 20 minutes £5.90 £7.91 £9.92 £11.93 £13.94 £15.95
20.01 - 25.00 minutes £7.38 £9.89 £12.40 £14.92 £17.43 £19.94
25.01 - 30.00 minutes £8.85 £11.87 £14.88 £17.90 £20.91 £23.93
Each additional 5 mins or part thereof +£1.48 +£1.98 +£2.48 +£2.98 +£3.49 +£3.99
Are you still unsure of how music licensing fits in with the music use featured within your show? If so, please contact the Fringe Society with any questions by email on [email protected] or by phone on +44(0)131 240 1901.