Music licenses Costa del Sol

Recently we had a gentleman contact us about a business we had listed on our Spanish Bars website that I thought might be of interest. It involves music licences. An important topic for anyone looking at opening a bar or restaurant that would be open till late in the evening. For privacy issues I have removed certain details. The reply to the email was by Mark Wallace, our Business Consultant.

Email received:

…l will also tell you that there is not one bar in Fuengirola that has a live music licence, in fact there are very few with any type of music licence. My solicitor has checked out the problem with the Mjas townhall, where all licences come from for Fuengirola area. The current Mayoress is closing bars down for this reason, there is no such licence as a music licence.


Dear Mr. X

I have been passed your file regarding your enquiry as one of the most experienced commercial agents on the team.

I note your comments and would like to respond accordingly.

Firstly to note, the areas of Mijas and Fuengirola are completely independent of each other, both having their own ruling council and therefore Mayor/Mayoress and Ayuntamientos (town halls.) It would be incorrect to state that Mijas would be responsible for licensing establishments in the Fuengirola area.

Furthermore the subject of ‘Music Licenses’ is very much a grey area. The grey area forms more from definition, similar to a ‘broadcasting license’ issued in the UK to licensed premises, in Spain there is an ‘ambience permit’ (loose translation) that enables Bars music capabilities for the purpose of background music and showing of things such as sports on television/music channels. This would normally be covered by paying a sum of approximately 30 to 40 euros a month to the Town Hall for this facility; often this is overlooked and generally can continue undetected until a problem arises in the form of a complaint (denuncia) to the local police for excessive noise in particular beyond the hour of Midnight. To this extent we therefore have a number of businesses that have music ‘capability’ in effect they may host live music and/or karaoke, but are sufficiently located and or sound proofed in order that no complaints are made and all music activities cease by the hour of Midnight.

The policy in Fuengirola in particular to an area of about 1 kilometer square around the area of the Port allows for no more ‘Music Licenses’ to be granted. Establishments that can provide music at volume and beyond the hour of midnight, such as Bogart Café and Old Town Café clearly have some kind of permit to do so and remain open all year round, suggesting some sort of ‘Music License’ must be in existence. One would assume that under the definitions ’Discotheque Licenses’ which do exist, may be granted to these places. Within the boundaries of this ‘prohibited area’ the ‘permits’ can only be passed on from one owner to the next as the premises are licensed in Spain and not the persons.

Confirmation from OUR Spanish Legal Advisor has stated that outside of the prohibited area, new business can apply for a ‘music permit’ given that they are correctly sound proofed, fitted with a decibel limiter and subject to the correct regulations governing such activities. New businesses in this category, to note, are locals (empty shells under existing buildings or independent constructions not used for residential but commercial purposes) fitted out for the purpose of a bar/entertainment venue, by design and build.

Live music is enjoyed in a few establishments without hindrance under the previously mentioned ‘music capabilities.’ The problems experienced in the business in question were primarily due to the fact that on too many occasions the music was far too loud and indeed continued past the hour of Midnight. An agreeable level of noise and compliance with the Midnight rule, would have lead to a better outcome for the leaseholders, my understanding through speaking to the owner of that unit is that there was a prolonged breach of contract from the leaseholders which led to him regaining possession.

On a lighter note the Mayoress of Fuengirola is not against the Musical activities in Fuengirola, to say otherwise is hearsay. There is a strict rule of the Town Hall that people have the right to peace and tranquility at certain times of the day or night (loud music during siesta times can attract an equally ‘fineable’ denuncia.) It is the businesses that continually abuse that right that get closed down!

I trust this gives you some clarity on the subject, of course if there is anything else you would like to know, indeed if you would like to discuss your requirements further then I would look forward to assisting you in finding your premises.

Yours sincerely

Mark Wallace
Spanish Bars

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