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TUNE IN LEGALLY: Can taxi drivers play music in their cabs with passengers onboard?

Updated: Feb 11

In the UK, taxi drivers providing passengers with a musical ride need more than just a good playlist; they require proper licensing. Under copyright law, playing music in public spaces, including taxis, demands following licensing regulations to ensure artists, composers, and performers receive their rightful royalties.

The Performing Right Society (PRS) and Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) are at the forefront of this licensing process. PRS manages rights related to music compositions and lyrics, while PPL focuses on the recordings. For taxi drivers to legally play music, acquiring licences from both organisations is seen as essential, safeguarding the financial interests of those behind the music.

Licences come with varying costs and conditions, tailored to fit different business operations, including those on wheels. It falls to taxi drivers and companies to be well-informed about these requirements and secure the appropriate licences, avoiding potential legal issues and fines.

Despite the clear legal expectations, enforcing these rules in the context of taxis presents its challenges, with drivers mostly now using personal streaming services or radios, possibly neglecting commercial licensing demands. However, the law is unequivocal and clear: music played within the commercial setting of a taxi should be properly licensed, ensuring full compliance with the UK's copyright regulations.


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