Licence-free background music service MusicStream calls for more industry education to avoid music licensing fines

Press Releases   •   Feb 16, 2012 15:42 GMT

Following on from the recent case of a Plymouth salon being fined £2,000 for playing licensed-music without a P.P.L. licence, music service provider MusicStream is calling for industry bodies and media to help educate businesses. MusicStream has produced a guide to music licensing designed to inform & educate business and highlighting the 9 key things businesses should know about music licensing.

How it works

Press Releases   •   Feb 03, 2012 15:25 GMT

MusicStream is a licence-free digital music service designed for business. It makes sourcing, delivering and managing music easy, and it saves you money...

A guide to music licensing

Press Releases   •   Feb 03, 2012 15:23 GMT

This is a short guide to music licensing and your legal obligations when playing music in your business premises:

  • When a business plays music to customers or staff it's classed as a public performance (as opposed to personal use). Public performance requires a licence so that money can be passed back to the rights owners.
  • PRS (the Performing Rights Society) represents the composers and publishing companies that own the copyrights in the song / composition. It collects public performance licence income and distributes back to the rights holders.
  • The purchase of a CD only grants the owner limited personal rights to the music not the right to publicly perform or broadcast it. That right is what you are paying for when you purchase a PRS licence and it is a legal obligation.
  • The likes of iTunes, Napster and Spotify are not licensed by the rights owners (labels & publishers) to be used for business use in any event - whether you have a PRS and PPL licence or not!
  • PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd.) has a similar role. It is the collection agency for the owners of sound recordings, i.e. the physical or digital record itself rather than the piece of music, typically a record label and its recording artists. It is also a legal obligation to have a PPL licence to play sound recordings in public in most situations.
  • The tariffs that both use are notoriously complicated and many small businesses only become aware of their licensing obligations when they are pursued by one or both of these bodies.
  • Tariffs are calculated based on various criteria, for example audible area, which can result in huge bills for larger sites.
  • To avoid paying these fees you must play licence-free music exclusively in a given defined space.

Our music is 'licence-free'

How? We deal directly with the artists and cut out the middleman. MusicStream buys the rights to all the music we use, or we make our own. We then licence it directly to you, so you no longer have to deal with PRS or PPL. We are in essence our own collection agency('s).

We offer you carefully chosen and programmed background music that is appropriate for your type of business and won’t be heard everywhere else. It’s designed for business.

Unlike other streaming services (like Spotify and Napster) that are illegal to use in a commercial environment and are designed with personal use in mind, we are designed for business and allow you to save money and be legally compliant.

What is a public performance licence? Many people are unclear and indeed resentful about why they have to pay for music licences over and above paying for the music itself. And from not just one but two separate organisations. The PRS and PPL in the UK...

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  • Operations Manager
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  • 07903984362
General Manager with highly developed strategic and operational skills gained in a variety of FMCG environments, on... Show more

About Music Stream Player

About Us

Our mission is to provide businesses with a comprehensive music service, that delivers unbeatable value. We do this by developing the world's best licence-free music catalogue and combining it with innovative technology, designed specifically to meet business needs.

We are passionate about delivering an innovative and valued service, drawing on the wide and varied experience of our team, and the feedback of our customers.

Origins, History & Team


The founders of the background music company (TBMC), of which MusicStream is the trading name, are Jeffrey Stewart, CEO and Fridrik Karlsson, Music Director. Jeff still runs a record label called New World Music, which over the last 15 years has released over 250 CD's. Jeff remains the majority shareholder in New World. Fridrik is a professional musician with a successful 30 year track record as recording artist, session musician, writer and producer. Fridrik also ran his own record label, iChill, creating licence-free music for businesses.

In 2009, Jeff and Frissi conceived of a new business that would offer a credible alternative to expensive licensed music services, and thus save businesses very significant sums of money. Jeff and Frissi knew from their own music production experience that they could leverage their combined music assets, their networks of musical talent and digital production to create a great music catalogue, cost-effectively. They also felt that if the music could be combined with a proprietary digital music player, the service would be very cost-effective and easy to deliver to businesses anywhere in the world.

Jeff & Frissi then hooked up with Louis Langerman, A South African musician, engineer and web developer. Louis was known to Jeff and Frissi as a talented music producer who had also been producing original music for businesses for many years. Louis joined the business as technical director and MusicStream was born.

Brief Development History

The business was incorporated in 2010, and work started on the first version of the MusicStream Player, and the development of a sophisticated music management system designed to store, organise and deliver thousands of tracks via the internet. Over this time the existing MusicStream catalogue was loaded and supplemented by new music sourced and commissioned from around the world, and this music acquisition work continues.

After rigorous testing, additional developments in response to beta test feedback and user interface refinements, the service was launched commercially in Summer 2011.

With very little marketing effort to date, the service is already used by a number retailers and spa businesses all of whom are very satisfied with the player, the music and the economics. (testimonials available)

The MusicStream Senior management team has grown along the way and now boasts a very experienced executive Board, all of whom are also shareholders.