Music Licensing for Business in Germany

Playing music in a business is a little different from listening to music at home. Since you're playing for an audience with a business and commercial purpose, you will need a license from GEMA.

Berlin city bar

Music Licenses in Germany

Businesses need three different rights to legally play music in their physical venue.

  • record icon

    Recording Rights

    Recording Rights

    This covers the right to use a specific recording of a song.

  • Music Notes

    Publishing Rights

    Publishing Rights

    This covers the right to use the original composition.

  • Open store

    Public Performance Rights

    Public Performance Rights

    This allows you to play the song in a public environment.

In Germany, public performance licenses are obtained through companies such as GEMA (who also manages background music licenses on behalf of GVL). It is vital that you obtain the correct rights to use music in your business.

For information on music licensing in another country, please click here.

Soundtrack Your Brand

The Value of Soundtrack

We offer a licensed music service for commercial use, with great features such as scheduling tools and an explicit filter.

Soundtrack Your Brand is able to provide this via direct relationships with publishers, performing rights organizations and record labels (including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and more).

Our technology allows royalties to be fairly and accurately distributed back to music creators. Our Unlimited tier provides royalty payments that are approximately 5 times higher than those from streaming services for private use.

Playing Music at home

Unsupported Services

Services such as Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, Tidal and Deezer are not suitable for use in business. These platforms are for personal, private use only - it is not legal to use them when playing music to an audience and you could risk being faced with a fine.

"You can’t broadcast or play Spotify publicly from a business, such as bars, restaurants, schools, stores, salons, dance studios, radio stations, etc. To play in a commercial environment, check out our friends at Soundtrack Your Brand."

Spotify Support Page

Steps to become fully licensed in Germany

1) Trial Soundtrack

Start our 14 day free trial to use our properly licensed business music service immediately. No payment or commitment required.

2) Get a Public Performance License

If you don't have a license from GEMA, please visit their website to get your license.

3) Subscribe to Soundtrack

Select a plan and add your payment details to officially join Soundtrack.

More Information about Music Licensing in Germany


When operating a business based in Germany, there are two separate music licensing organizations to consider. These are GEMA and SUISA, which are German and Swiss organizations respectively. Both aim to collect and distribute royalties throughout Germany on behalf of music authors, composers and publishers. GVL handles neighbouring rights, but royalties are collected by GEMA.






GEMA or Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte, the Society for Musical Performance and Mechanical Reproduction Rights, was formed in 1933. It operates as a collective management organization. With over 6 million members, it is the largest of its kind in Germany, representing over 90,000 composers, lyricists and publishers.

Operation began in 1923 for SUISA or Schweizerische Gesellschaft für die Rechte der Urheber und Verleger von musikalischen Werken, the Swiss Society for the Rights of Authors and Publishers of Musical Works. However, it was not known under this name until 1942, when a change in law required that it become a cooperative society.

The German Organisation for the Management of Neighbouring Rights, or GVL, was established in 1959 and works collaboratively with GEMA where neighbouring rights for public performance are concerned.

How to get a license in Germany

Licenses from either GEMA or SUISA last for one calendar year. A variety of tariffs are available to suit the specific use of music within your business. Depending on how you make use of music at your company, you will may be required to hold licenses from both organizations. It is possible to make enquiries online for these.