Thinking of starting a new recorded music society?

Music lovers have been listening to recorded music since the 1920s when only a fortunate few had the equipment and records to play, and they did this in organised groups. In the 21st century there is still a large number of active recorded music societies in the UK, with over 10,000 keen listeners.
It's a great way to learn about and appreciate good music in the company of like-minded people. You don't have to be a musician yourself but there so many opportunities to share in the love of music and there's always a lively social atmosphere.
To find out more, read on….

What do I need to know?

Having got your venue, equipment and other essential facilities organised,
you need to get licensed to play recordings to your group of people.

Did you know that playing commercially issued recordings in public requires licenses?

You didn't? then read the label or the case of an LP or a CD.
Listening to recorded music in organised groups constitutes "public performance" even though the music may be played to a discrete group comprising mainly members of your society and even if you meet in members' homes. This situation contrasts with a purely domestic listening environment for the immediate family.
To find out more, read on….

What licences do we need?

Check that your chosen venue does not already have either of the licences required. Otherwise you need a PRS licence (Performing Right Society) that covers the music played and the rights of the composers, arrangers, publishers, etc., and also PPL (Phonographic Performance) that covers the rights of the recording companies.

And if we don't?

If an inspector from one of the licensing bodies comes along and finds unlicenced performances being given, then a charge may be imposed which could be quite punitive and also retrospective.

Where can we get these licenses?
These can be obtained direct from the organisations concerned but it is much better and without any hassle for you to get the necessary cover via the Federation at greatly reduced costs. We have published a Factsheet that explains all that recorded music societies need to know about copyright. Please apply to the Secretary.

Tell me about the Federation

The Federation, originally formed in 1936, is an association of over two hundred such societies and one of its principal functions is to provide services without which individual societies would find it difficult to operate. In addition to the licences mentioned above, the Federation also offers optional public liability (your venue might insist on you having this insurance) and equipment insurances that are available at very competitive premiums.

How else can you help?

You have obviously looked at our modern web site on which your society can promote its activities. We also publish a twice-yearly magazine, The Bulletin, that is full of interesting articles, advice on programme planning, and record and book reviews, plus of course news and information from around the movement. Every affiliate gets a copy and it is possible to purchase additional copies for your members. Back copies can be seen on this website.

The Federation also offers technical advice to help you keep up to date on matters relating to your sound reproducing equipment.

We are interested, what else do we need to know?

Within existing affiliated societies, group sizes range from a couple of dozen up to the largest at over two hundred. We welcome the formation of new societies that may naturally start with modest levels of membership and we can even offer financial incentives in the early years of affiliation.

We can offer helpful advice, that can be tailored to your own situation, on the formation of a new group including licensing, rules of association, administration and insurances and this can be obtained from the Federation Secretary whose address can be found on our home page.

You will soon agree that the modest charges that we make are well worth it to affiliate to the Federation.

If you have an existing group then you will find it of great advantage to join the camaraderie that is the recorded music movement, and we will gladly give you more details about affiliation, its benefits and its costs.


If you wish to form a new recorded Music Society, or affiliate an existing one,
then write to the Secretary, FRMS via the Home Page

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