If you want to include copyrighted music in your School Radio content, you will need to obtain the appropriate Music Licenses from the UK's two music licensing bodies PPL and PRS.
If you plan to broadcast on AM, FM, DAB or SSDAB then you will also need a broadcast license from OFCOM but as most School Radio station broadcast around the School or on the web, OFCOM licenses are not usually required.
In the UK, all commercial and community radio broadcasters are regulated by OFCOM which is the independent regulator for the broadcast and communication industries.
Whilst OFCOM license and regulate FM, AM and DAB radio broadcasters, currently their remit does not include web radio stations or radio delivered by closed networks (intranet), downloads or wired speaker systems. In other words, unless you are planning on broadcasting on FM, AM or DAB you will not need a broadcast license from OFCOM for your School Radio station.
If you play any type of commercial music as part of your School Radio project you will most likely need to obtain music licenses from both of the UK music licensing bodies.
PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited)
PPL is the licensing body that represents the record companies and performers, and all business or public areas in the UK must have PPL licenses if they want to play music. This includes listening to a radio in an office!
For School Radio there are potentially two different PPL music license that might apply depending on your choose broadcast method.
Broadcasting on the Web (including Web Player)
For schools that broadcast using the publicly using the internet (including if you use School Radio Player) then the license that is most likely to apply is the Online radio and services - PPL (ppluk.com) license which starts at £157+vat (correct at time of writing) a year and is adequate to cover almost all School Radio needs.
Broadcasting around your School Network only (i.e. not accessible outside of your school network)
For schools that want to restrict access to their School Radio station to within their school via their school network only, then a slightly different PPL music license would apply. In this scenario, the PPL Student radio licence - PPL (ppluk.com) would apply which starts from £195+vat (correct at time of writing).
All license fees are renewable annually.
PRS (Performing Rights Society)
PRS is the body which represents composers, songwriters & music publishers and collects money on their behalf from any business or organisation that uses copyright music. Just like PPL, PRS offer a small scale web radio license which is idea for School Radio. The Limited Online Music License (LOML) starting from £154+vat (correct at time of writing) per year and is adequate to cover the needs of most School Radio projects. Also like PPL, the license situation may change if you play your radio station through fixed speakers so we recommend you speak to them directly before applying online.