So here it is, merry Christmas, but not everybody's having fun

30 November, 2007

Silent night (and day) at some Thresher stores after music licence expires

Christmas is coming, and

those festive tunes fill

the air

... well, not at some Thresher Group stores, where workers have been banned from playing music or switching on the radio.

Thresher Group's head office contacted shop managers three weeks ago, ordering them to stop playing music in store with immediate effect as their music licences had expired.

Staff were told they would be contacted again the following week, according to one manager, but workers have since heard nothing.

Faced with the prospect of working in a silent shop, some managers have bought their own music licences. One told OLN she had spent her own money on a licence.

Another worker said that her shop usually played Christmas CDs in December, but staff were worried Thresher wouldn't issue its music licences in time. "I suppose we won't be having our Christmas music this year," she said.

"I'm incensed," one manager told OLN, "because they expect an awful lot of us and if they can't give us that little bit, then it's a very sad state of affairs."

A Thresher Group spokesman said the company had applied for new music licences for the stores, but could not say when they were likely to be issued.

Franchised shops have not been affected, as they are responsible for applying for their own licences.

Playing music: what you need

Shops need up to two licences, depending on what sort of music they want to play in the public areas of the shop. A PRS licence is needed if shops want to provide music through a single radio or small TV, and prices are levied according to shop size, but start at around £50. To play CDs in-store, shops need a PPL licence.

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