Schools Printed Music Licence – How to utilise this while your pupils are studying at home

During these uncertain times, the only thing we can be sure of is that music is available and remains good for everybody. It helps raise our spirits, makes us happy and brings people together (even remotely) in the most trying of circumstances.

Printed Music Licensing Limited (PMLL) represents many different members, from major and independent music publishers to print music publishers. This enables repertoire such as Adele, Stormzy, Ed Sheeran and Billie Eilish to be copied and shared amongst students, while print publishers such as Hal Leonard, Faber, Oxford University Press and ABRSM are all members of the scheme and their works can be used to teach music in many ways.

If you hold a Schools Printed Music Licence (SPML)
Staff at licensed schools can photocopy sheet music for all members of your class. It also allows teachers to arrange music to ensure the song is fit for purpose, for not only the voices, but also the instruments that the teacher has available. Photocopied music can be scanned and stored on a VLE allowing access through a secure network by students and staff.

As most schools are now closed (for the majority of students) for at least one term it is important that students’ lives remain as normal as possible. Music has been shown (through various studies) to have a positive impact on pupil’s wellbeing and mental health, as well as a helping to improve the study of other subjects. It is essential that everyone has access to music in all forms possible to keep spirits lifted and minds busy.

By allowing access to copies of sheet music via a learning platform from home, students can continue to study music even while not at school. Staff who are still onsite or working remotely can upload music they think would be useful to students for use at home. Pupils can keep learning an instrument or practise singing from home and use resources to help them to write their own songs and lyrics. They can even compose their own music using software programmes which are permitted under the licence.

Access to a diverse array of music genres is not only allowed, but fully encouraged. PMLL members represent a broad range of genres from pop, classical to jazz and grime music.

If your Music Service has a Music Service Licence
From 1 April 2020 PMLL is launching a licence for Music Services. The licence will be available through 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 also allows copies of sheet music to be digitised and uploaded to a VLE or another secure network. Students and staff can then access this music from home, ensuring that music teaching can continue even when pupils are not on the school site.  This ensures that ensembles can be taught via online lessons, small vocal groups can continue to learn songs and children can continue to learn instruments.

What can you do to help?
PMLL does not make a profit from licence fees it receives. A small percentage of the monies collected goes back into running the business, but the majority of licence fees are distributed to those publishers, songwriters and composers whose works are being used under licences. We rely on licensees to report music that has been copied, arranged and uploaded onto VLEs in order to be able to pay the right people who own the repertoire used.

Now more than ever we need to ensure that songwriters and composers are fairly paid for the works being used. As teachers you understand that by passing on your knowledge and love for music you are encouraging a new generation of songwriters and composers whose works will one day be used under these types of licenses. It is essential that they are paid correctly and for us to do this we ask you to report your data, as far as practically possible.

You can do this in several ways:
1. If you are selected by the CLA to participate in the survey. You will receive a yellow box which should be placed next to the photocopier. Teachers are asked to make an extra copy of works they are photocopying and fill in an information form.

2. Fill in a spreadsheet to report what works have been uploaded and used. We can supply this, or you can fill in your own.
Information we need:
Name of publication
• Name of work/song
• Composer/Writer
• Print Publisher
• Music Publisher (song)
• Pages copied (from – to)
• Number of copies made/accessed
• Source of Copy
o Printed Publication
o Pdf Copy
o Scanned Copy
o Other

3. Send an email detailing what has been copied/uploaded (using the information needed above)

4. Fill in the from on the PMLL website

If you would like to get in contact please contact [email protected]