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Blog - What licence does a mobile DJ need?

Posted: Wednesday 8th November 2017 By: Andrew Broughton | Read Time = 3 mins Views: 14153

It can be very confusing trying to work out what licences a DJ needs or indeed if any are even required.

In short there isn't such a thing as a "licence" to be a DJ in the same way that you need a licence to drive a car. Although there may be companies offering qualifications unfortunately these rarely amount to much apart from personal satisfaction.

Music Licences

There are a few licences that you may need to consider:
- PRS music licence
- PPL music licence
- ProDub music copying licence

These music licences can be confusing to understand so it's important to understand if you really need them. They will quite happily take your money and give you a licence but you may not actually need them - I speak from bitter experience! Many years ago I came across a handy guide produced by the National Association for DJs (NADJ).

The ProDub licence is required for anyone that makes copies of or "format shifts" their music. What?!!! What they mean by format shifts is if you change the format of the music, for example if you copy your CDs to mp3. If all you do is download your music in mp3 and copy the mp3 to your playout system then you are not changing the format of the music and therefore don't need to worry about this licence.

Mobile DJ Contracts

You'll also want to consider how you confirm your bookings. I would recommend having booking forms to form a contract between yourself and your client.

Public Liability Insurance (PLI)

Although not a licence to operate, it is good practice for DJs to have Public Liability Insurance (PLI) and regularly test their equipment - you'll often see this referred to as Portable Appliance Testing (PAT).

Public Liability Insurance is there to protect you in the event of an accident or claim against your business. Several DJ associations offer PLI as part of their membership so it's foolish not to have PLI in my view; as you can get some for under £50 a year it's a small price to pay to protect you.

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)

There are a lot of myths around PAT (not the Postman!) that this has to be done annually. The truth is there is no legal requirement specifying - see the official advice from the Health & Safety Executive:
"The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 require that any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition. However, the Regulations do not specify what needs to be done, by whom or how frequently (ie they don't make inspection or testing of electrical appliances a legal requirement, nor do they make it a legal requirement to undertake this annually)."


So in a nutshell there isn't a "licence" to be mobile DJ. But there are some things to consider.

Legal disclaimer: This blog has been written as a guide and does not constitute legal advice; that's what you pay lots of money to people who specialise in law!

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