THE owners of an Abergavenny bar have been ordered to pay £1,838 by London’s High court for playing music there without licence.

Although High Court judge Mrs Justice Asplin heard on June 18 that Memraj Neupane and Harriet Babbage had now paid up to bring their licence up to date for Auberge bar and restaurant on Frogmore Street, she still ordered them to pay a hefty legal bill rung up by music royalties collectors Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) in proceedings against them. They must pay £1,838 within 14 days.

The judge was told by counsel for PPL Jonathan Moss that they were caught playing music on the premises when they did not hold a licence from PPL.

He said that one of PPL’s inspectors attended the premises on 25 January and heard tracks being played including ‘White Heart (Digital Dog Remix)’ and ‘Let Go For Tonight (Kat Krazy Remix)’.

PPL’s licence scheme applies to all forms of mechanically recorded music such as records, tapes and CDs in PPL’s repertoire, which covers 97 per cent of all music. Music licences can cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds, depending on the size of the venue and the audiences involved.

Nazneen Nawaz, spokesperson for PPL, said: “PPL is the music licensing company which, on behalf of thousands of record company and performer members, licenses recorded music for broadcast, online and public performance use.

“Our 90,000 members include major record labels and independents as well as globally successful performers and session musicians, ranging from orchestral players to percussionists and singers. The majority are small businesses, all of whom are legally entitled to be fairly paid for the use of their recordings and performances.

“PPL issues licences to hundreds of thousands of businesses and organisations across the UK when they play recorded music to their staff or customers and therefore require a licence by law.

“Licensees include bars, nightclubs, shops, hotels, offices, factories, gyms, schools, universities and public sector organisations up and down the country. After the deduction of PPL’s running costs, all licence fee income is distributed to members. PPL does not retain a profit for its services.”

Speaking after the case, Ms Babbage said: “I think the whole situation is a matter of miscommunication on both of our behalves. It has been paid in full and there is no outstanding balance. Memraj Neupane is not a proprietor. He was a former employee and was not involved in this matter at all.”