Applying for a licence to play music

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Checked 28 Feb 2022
1 min read
Nederlandse versie

Do you want to play music in your company? For instance in your shop, restaurant or on your website? Then you must have permission from the lyricist, composer and music publisher. This is called a licence. You must pay the creators a fee.

When do you need a licence to play music?

If you play music in your establishment, you must apply for a licence. You need a licence to play music:

  • in catering establishments, such as cafes, (company) restaurants, hotels, gyms, or indoor playgrounds
  • in public areas
  • in dance halls
  • in sales areas, such as shops, shopping centres, passenger transport, exhibitions
  • in companies, offices, and educational institutions
  • at events
  • as background to your website

You also need a licence if you want to use music in productions such as:

  • videos
  • advertising
  • podcasts
  • games and apps

Check if you need a music licence.

Applying for a licence to play music

Do you need a licence? You can apply for a licence from a Combined Management Organisation (CMO) via The following organisations are examples of CMOs:

If musical copyrights have been transferred to Buma-Stemra, they can issue licences that give you permission to play the music. If it involves artists and record producers, based on a neighbouring right, Sena will issue the licences. If you apply for rights from more than one CMO, you can opt for a combined invoice (in Dutch).

Costs of a licence to play music

The cost of licences to play music differ. It depends partly on the sector and also on:

  • whether it is live music, light music, or background music
  • the number of persons hearing the music
  • the floor area of the space in which the music can be heard
  • how often the music is played

Calculate the cost of your licence.

Sector organisations can request a collective licence, subject to various conditions.

This webpage is part of an EU quality network