Legal requirements for a live concert


In layman’s language, a live concert is defined as a music performance by singers or players which does not comprise theatrical staging.[1] A live concert is a live music performance by the musicians in front of the audience.[2] Conducting any live concert is challenging. The task becomes more problematic when it is concerned with musical events. While organizing such live concerts, the organizers and hosts of the event have to consider several factors which play a vital role in the success of the concerned concert.

Many legal requirements need fulfillment for conducting a live concert.  These legal requirements include government licenses, permits, entertainment tax, etc. Additionally, the organizers must complete their documentation and obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the lawful authorities.[3] There are various departments from where the organizer of the event should obtain the NOC. Hence, before conducting a live concert, the organizers must ensure to follow all the legal procedures.


Indian Performing Rights Society Limited (IPRS) License

IPRS license is considered the most vital license for any vocal artist, musician, and lyrists who perform in any part of India.[4] It is essential for every musician or artist performing on the stage in India to become a member of this copyright society. Following the membership, the artist is granted a license after the approval of the organization.[5]

Phonographic Performance Limited

Phonographic Performance Limited, also known as PPL, was founded in 1941.[6] It controls and owns public performance rights of more than 400 music labels.[7] IPRS and PPL are the backbones of every live concert or music performance. The organizer of a live show is required to obtain the PPL license for conducting a live concert. This license also authorizes the organizers to conduct public performances along with recording and displaying music or video. This license gives the liberty to present the work of artists before the audience.

Other licenses

Other licenses such as loudspeaker, performance, premises, excise, etc., may also be required. An organizer could obtain a loudspeaker license from the local police authorities of the concerned locality where the live concert is to be conducted. Further, a performance license is mandatory for live shows that feature a child artist a minor. The premises license is obtained by the Municipal Authority of the concert venue.

Entertainment Tax for Live Concert in Mega Cities

Entertainment tax is imposed on each financial transaction of a live concert event. The organizers of a live concert must pay entertainment tax for conducting a live show in mega Cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh, Bengaluru, etc. As the State imposes this tax, the percentage of entertainment tax varies from one state to another.

Protection of Live Concert from Copyright and illegal recordings

The host of a live concert must ensure that the live show is conducted in a legal and authorized way. It should not be unlawful or unauthorized. For example, many organizers prevent the public from buying tickets to live concerts, thereby earning huge profits from broadcasting live shows on online websites and web applications.

Protection of Live Concert from Copyright and illegal recordings

The organizer of a live concert must ensure that the concert agreement deals with the cancellation of the live show. The agreement must include circumstances in which the concert may be cancelled and define that the losses, risk, compensation, and refunds are wholly assigned.

The host should make sure that they have the legal license of venue for organizing the concert. Most importantly, all the specifications of the live show must be in the form of a legal written document.


From the above discussion, we could conclude that organizing a live concert is not a cakewalk. It involves a lot of effort, financial resources, and time. Further, no one should conduct a live show without fulfilling the legal requirements set up by the law.

The taxes for conducting live concerts differ from one State to another. In India, the laws for conducting live shows are highly influenced by government permits, licenses, taxes, etc. One of the essential taxes which is imposed for performing live concerts is the Entertainment tax.  

[1] For details, see Live concert - definition of Live concert by The Free Dictionary, available at (accessed on 8, October, 2021).
[2] Ibid.
[3] For details, see Organizing a Concert - Permits, Licenses & Tax - Resources for Creators and Small Business (, available at (accessed on 8, October, 2021).
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] For details see, available at (accessed on 8, September, 2021).
[7] Ibid.

Authored by: Nikita Dobhal, LLM, Uttarakhand Technical University, Dehradun

Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide general guidance to the subject matter. For any specific advice/corrections, write to [email protected]

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