Music Service Licence

On 1 April 2020 PMLL launched a Music Service Trial Licence. From the 1 April 2022 this will become a full licence, the terms and conditions will remain the same. The licence allows staff in Music Services to copy and arrange sheet music as part of the ‘area activities’ offered by the service that are not covered by the SPML.

The Music Service Licence is available via Music Mark, who are a membership organisation, subject association, and charity. Their membership consists of Music Education Services and Hubs, teaching and support teams, schools and individuals.

Currently, staff at Music Services are able to make photocopies and arrange sheet music as part of school activities as long as it is within an institution that holds a School Printed Music Licence (SPML). For activities that are carried out by Music Services that are not covered under the SPML, we have developed a licence to allow staff and students to continue to gain access to sheet music in a similar way. Copies and arrangements of sheet music can be used by staff at Music Services as part of ‘area activities’.

Area activities include individual and small group vocal or instrumental teaching and small or large music ensembles over and above the Collective Educational Provision of the school or schools on whose behalf it is being provided, but strictly limited to educational non-commercial activities.

The licence allows:

  • Copying of whole works;
  • Copying of 10% (by number of items) of individual pieces of music in a published anthology or multi-movement vocal score (by number of pages);
  • Arrangements of works;
  • Uploading of printed music copies to a password protected Virtual Learning Environment or similar secure network.

A list of publishers who have mandated their rights for this scheme is available.  There is also an exclusion list that details any publishers that have excluded all or some of their works. Full terms and conditions of the Music Service Licence are available to download.

The cost of the Music Service Licence is based on banding:

Organisation size (based on income) Cost of Licence per annum (exclusive of VAT)
Levels A and B (organisational income >£500k) £200
Levels C and D (organisational income £500k-£1.5m) £300
Levels E and F (organisational income £1.5m+) £400

Please read our FAQs section below to answer any questions you may have. The Music Service Licence will be administered on behalf of PMLL by Music Mark.  If you would like further information about the licence or have a query please contact Music Mark or PMLL directly.

Music Service Licence - FAQs

What does the licence cover?

The licence allows the photocopying of sheet music (provided an original copy is owned in physical format or downloaded in pdf form, from a licensed source). Arrangements of music can also be made (further information is included in this FAQ section).

Does this licence cover photocopying in schools?

No. The Schools Printed Music Licence (SPML) already allows teachers employed by the school and teachers employed by the Music Service who provide music teaching to photocopy and arrange sheet music within schools. The Department for Education centrally pays for this licence for all schools and academies within England, and schools are licensed centrally in Scotland and Northern Ireland through the government. In Wales schools are licensed on a school by school or Local Authority basis and Independent schools are licensed individually.

How much does the licence cost?

The licence is charged on a tiered basis depending on the total level of income received by the Music Service.

Tier 1
Organisational income less than £500k
Licence cost: £200

Tier 2
Organisational income £500k – £1.5m
Licence cost:

Tier 3
Organisational income £1.5m+
Licence cost:

(all prices are excluding VAT)

What is the licence term?

The licence term would be for 1 calendar year. This can then be renewed on an annual basis. The licence runs from April to March.

What happens if I cancel the licence?

If the licence is not renewed, then all copies and arrangements made under the licence must be destroyed.  This includes any electronic copies stored on a VLE.  Copies can be retained each year but must be registered as new use and reported in data returns to the PMLL.

Will PMLL visit the Music Service to perform an inspection?

We can, with reasonable notice, visit the Music Service to ensure that the terms and conditions of the licence are being adhered to. We would generally only enact this if we become aware of misuse of the licence.

Does the Music Service need to appoint a central contact?

In order for PMLL to be able to send any relevant information to the Music Service it would be helpful (although not essential) to have a central point of contact at the Music Service.

Does it cover all activities at the Music Service?

The licence covers ‘area activities’ including small group vocal or instrumental music teaching and small and large ensembles, over and above the Collective Educational Provision of the schools or Local Authority area on whose behalf it is being provided.  Licensed Copies are permitted to be used in relation to performance events for which entrance fees or monetary collections are taken provided such fees or collections are used entirely as a contribution towards the running costs of the Music Service. It does not cover private individual or vocal or instrumental teaching or any other commercial activities.

Does it cover other organisations within the Music Education Hub?

The licence is limited to the staff of the Music Service, or Lead Music Education Hub partner (therefore to the organisation that procured the licence) and does not cover other partner organisations within the Music Education Hub. For activities taking place as part of in-school provision these are covered by the Schools Printed Music Licence (SPML).

Are any works excluded from the licence?

A list of any excluded works for this licence can also be viewed on the website.

Do I have to own an original copy of the music?

Yes an original copy of the physical sheet music or a licensed print of a downloaded copy must be purchased before any copies are made.

Can I photocopy a whole book?

No.  Staff must not make copies of more than 10% (by number of items) of the individual pieces in a published Anthology or multi-movement vocal score or not more than 10% (by number of pages) of any Workbook.  If there are fewer than ten individual pieces of music in an Anthology or multi-movement vocal score the Music Service may only make copies of one of them.

How many copies can I make?

Copies are limited to one copy per student participating in the activity.

Do I need to credit copies made under this licence?

Copies of sheet music made under the licence should have the text below on them:

“Copy made on dd/mm/yyyy under the PMLL Licence for use by (name of music service)”

This can be hand written or some institutions produce stickers with the wording above that can be used on the copies of the sheet music.

Do I have to report what I copy?

Yes, it is really important that have accurate data on what works/music are used under the licence so that we can pay the right people.  PMLL does not make a profit but pays licence fees back to its publishers members who in turn pay the writers and composers of the music that is used.

PMLL launched a portal in April to make data submission as easy and quick as possible for teachers.  You can sign up to the portal from the website.

Why do I have to report what I copy?

PMLL collects monies from licence fees and (apart from the admin costs of running the company) distributes all the revenue to its members who mandate their rights to the scheme allowing use of their repertoire.  In order to make accurate distributions and for publishers to be able to pay the correct writers, composers etc we need to receive data regarding what has been copied.  It is important that our members (who have mandated rights to the scheme allowing their works to be used) and the creators of the music are fairly recompensed for the use of their works.

Can I make arrangements under the licence?

Arrangements must be made for primarily practical reasons, such as a change of instrumentation or key, to make the Musical Work performable by the Music Service’s instrumental or vocal resources.

How long can I keep an arrangement covered by the licence?

A copy of an arrangement can be retained as long as the licence is still valid.  Ownerships of arrangements are automatically assigned to the owner of the musical work. If there is any objection to the arrangement by the relevant author, composer or publisher it must be immediately destroyed.

Does this licence cover public performances?

The licence does not cover public performance. A separate licence from PRS for Music must be obtained for this activity.

Does this licence cover using photocopies made for group lessons to be used in exams?

The licence does not cover the use of photocopies in exams.

We don’t have staff but engage self-employed staff to deliver our teaching, are they covered by the licence?

The licence is held by the Music Service. Staff engaged by the Music Service including self-employed staff) are able to photocopy sheet music for the activities as set out in the licence terms.