Friday, 27 November 2009

Christmas could cost you dearly

Christmas is fast approaching, but Shropshire companies have been warned getting into the festive spirit could cost them dearly.

Our Senior Partner, Graham Davies, said many businesses chose to play Christmas carols in the background in the run-up to the big day. “But it’s not as simple as just putting on a CD of seasonal music and singing along – your company will actually need two licences if you want to play music in the workplace.”

Graham said to play music in a commercial environment, businesses must have licences from both the Performing Rights Society (PRS) and Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL). To find out the accurate price for a licence, companies must apply to both organisations’ websites and the minimum licence length is 30 days.

“It’s important to remember though that as soon as you ask for a quote, you will have alerted them to your intentions and so the risk of receiving a visit from one of their inspectors is much greater.

“And as well as following up licence enquiries from their websites, they actively seek out companies who are flouting the rules. One tactic that may be used is for inspectors to phone a business and see if music is being played in the background, and then check their registers to see if you have a licence.”

Graham said if you are found without a licence, your company will be required to apply for one immediately. “You will have to pay a 50% premium on top of the usual licence fee, and if you refuse to pay, you will risk being prosecuted and fined.

“Some businesses without a licence may be tempted to sit tight, play the music anyway and let the inspectors find them, taking the view that the music will only be playing for a few weeks. But this is a risky strategy that could cost your business dearly in the long term if you are caught and fined.”