License to Sing

Music is an integral part of an in-store environment – however, retailers in India require Public Performance Licenses (PPLs) or Music Playout Licenses.  STORAI, in partnership with Radiowalla Network Pvt. Ltd. simplifies:
Every retailer knows the importance of Music in the stores. It enhances ambience and research also shows that music motivates shoppers to prolong their stay in-store – indirectly increasing cash-memo size.

For Indian Retailers, playing music in-store requires obtaining a Public Performance License.  The reason for the license, is because the music rights holder has the right to collect fees when their music is used in a commercial environment. This is similar to paying Microsoft for the windows license on your PC.

Radiowalla-3The licenses required for music Playout in stores have become expensive and at times retailers have faced threats of police action and legal hassles. Let’s understand the details and legalities associated with it.

License applicability depends on what kind of music the retailer wants to play – Popular music from one of the larger music labels is likely to cost more than music made by independent artists.  The graphic below simplifies the issue:

There isn’t one all-encompassing license, but three kinds of licenses that are generally available in India.

  • Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) represents some large music labels like T Series, Sony, Universal etc and you will need their  license (Website: ) ;  if you wish to play music from these labels. The list of members of PPL is available on their website.
  • Some smaller labels (like YRF, UTV etc) also license directly or through other companies (Novex Communications website: )
  • And finally there are independent artists that choose not to align with any music label and instead choose to ally with a service provider for in-store radio service like Radiowalla Network (

So, the first choice is the library of the music you wish to play and depending on the same you go for the license.

One jargon that you will keep coming across when you talk about Music playout licenses is IPRS.

What is IPRS?

Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) is a society that represents the rights of artists and the composers. Legal experts say that IPRS is required incase of a live performance only. However, IPRS has served notices on some retail chains about taking IPRS licenses in case you are playing any music from the members of IPRS. We would suggest that you speak to your legal team for a clarification in this respect.


Let us now deal with the most important factor about availing licenses – the cost. Not all licenses cost the same; they vary a great deal as the music libraries are different. As a thumb rule, PPL is the most expensive. The costs also vary with the store size and the number of stores contracted.

Generally independent music is the most economical form of music license available while it provides a huge library of music designed for retail stores. The question to ask is do you need popular music or good music in the store? Talking of paid music let us also share that there is something called Royalty free music too; Any music that is not part of library of a Performance Rights Organization  (PRO) –  (e.g. PPL/Novex/ IPRS) is called royalty free music. This is music composed by independent artists or musicians that are not aligned to the major music labels.

The retailer does not need a PPL or IPRS license to play royalty free music. Royalty Free music from Spot Radio is not part of the library of any PRO in India and hence, you won’t need any separate license for playing this music. A certificate of service is issued to individual stores indicating the use of royalty free music for the in store radio service in that store.

So hope we have set the symphony right for you when it comes to Music Playout licenses.

The article is penned by Mr Harpreet Singh, COO – Spotradio, Radiowalla Network Pvt. Ltd

About Radiowalla Network Pvt. Ltd. (R. N. P. L): Founded in 2011 & head quartered in Bangalore, is a young company in the business of creating innovative Internet Based, Customized Radio Solutions for retail outlets, corporate offices & Education Institutes.

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Retailers Association of India (RAI) is the unified voice of Indian retailers. RAI is a not for profit organization (registered under section 25 of Companies Act, 1956), works with all the stakeholders for creating the right environment for the growth of the modern retail industry in India. RAI is the body that encourages, develops, facilitates and supports retailers to become modern and adopt best practices that will delight customers. RAI has a three charter aim of Retail Development, Facilitation and Propagation.