The SIAE is the Italian Society of Authors and Publishers (in Ireland it is called IMRO, in the UK it is called PRS for Music, in Germany it is the GEMA) and it is required by Italian law that the event organizers obtain a permit if they plan private parties or events.
From the SIAE website:
Private parties or events are private celebrations (weddings, baptism and confirmations parties, birthday parties, graduation parties and similar celebrations) occurring in places other than your house, offered by private citizens and reserved to guests, during which any music works included in the SIAE – Music Division repertoire are performed.
In the case of a wedding, the event organizers are the brides and grooms and it is their responsability to have the necessary permit in case of an unannounced control by the authorities.
What if I don’t pay the SIAE tax?
By law you are required to obtain the SIAE licence, if you fail to do so in case of an unannounced control, the fine will be six times the sum which you would have had to pay for the original licence. And the musicians will not be allowed to continue their performance for that event.
How much does the SIAE licence cost for live music?
As you can see on their official website, the cost varies depending on the amount of guests.
- Up to 200 guests, the cost is 199,00€* for a wedding.
- For more than 200 guests, the cost is 299,00€*.
*Please note, that the price above are without VAT, so the final price will be higher. Also note that are subject to change, so make sure to check the latest price list on the SIAE website.
How can I get a permit?
If you happen to be in Italy a few days before your wedding, you will have to visit the SIAE office, which is in charge of the venue and region where you are going to get married. It is best to call the office before or to ask the venue to make sure you are visiting the correct office.
Once there you will have to bring an ID and fill out the form that you will be shown. Once you have filled out everything you will need to pay the fee and in return you will receive a royalty form called “Borderò”, which needs to be filled out by the musicians (they will have to write down all the songs they played).
After the performance on the wedding day, after the musicians have filled out the royalty form, they return it to you – and you then will have to bring it back to the SIAE office, or post it.
But I won’t be in Italy before the wedding / don’t have time / don’t want to got here!
In that case you have two options. One is to delegate the task of getting the permit on your behalf to someone living in Italy.
The other option is do do everything online. Below you find a video that explains how to sign up to their website (a second video explaining how to request their permit is coming soon). Recently the SIAE has modernized its online presence, allowing you to create an account (for free) and then to get and pay for the permit online as well. You can then either print out the borderò (royalty form), or if the musicians are registered on the SIAE website (like The Waistcoats), all you need to do is send them the borderò from within the SIAE website. They can then fill in the information online as well and send it back to you.
Before getting the permit online you’ll need to sign up to their website. We made a short video about how you can do that:
After you signed up, you can get the permit (in the “Permessi Feste Private” section), here is a video on how you can do this within a few minutes. After generating your permit, you will be able to assign a playlist to the performer, which will allow the SIAE to determin, which royalties will go to the composers of the songs.
107/OR: This type is for the LIVE music. As you will see in the video you can assign this playlist to the musicians who are going to perform on your big day. They will then insert the songs they are going to play and the system will then forward this to the SIAE.
107/SM: This type is for any kind of RECORDED music, e.g. played from an iPod, background music played through the venue’s PA system or a DJ. Assign this to the person that will be responsable for the recorded music.
If you should select a “mixed event” (recorded + live music, the price of the permit may be higher in this case), note that two different playlists will be produced which now both need to be assigned. Make sure that the type 107/OR goes to the live music band and type 107/SM goes to the DJ or person responsable for recorded background music.
Signing up and getting the permit online is definitely a great alternative, as you virtually eliminate any paperwork and can get things done with a few clicks.