Music is essential to a business, and studies show that customers are more likely to spend more time in your establishment with background music playing.
But before you plug in your Bluetooth speakers, know that unlicensed music robs musicians of the income they deserve.
Thankfully, many business-oriented music subscription services cover licensing fees on your behalf. This makes it easy for you to play legally in your business.
Many businesses play music to set a mood or entertain their guests. They may have live bands or use a jukebox, iPod, CD player, or streaming service to provide their customers and employees with the music they like. The reality is that all of these activities require a business to have the right license to play the music legally. A song’s copyright owners (songwriters and composers) are entitled to be paid for their performance. U.S. law considers any time a song is played in a commercial establishment – even if only one person listens – to be a public performance.
Obtaining the right licensing to use a song for business is called a “sync license.” A sync license is an agreement with the owner of the master recording rights (typically a record label or artist) and the mechanical rights (copyright owners who have licensed their songs for reproduction) to use their songs in audiovisual media outputs intended to be monetized.
Using a song without the appropriate permission is considered copyright infringement and carries hefty fines from the major performing rights organizations. While some establishments are fortunate enough to avoid such penalties, others are not – and the artists themselves are often left unpaid due to these unauthorized uses of their music. By using fully licensed music for businesses, you are supporting the artists whose work you enjoy and avoiding costly infringement claims.
Music licensing allows business owners to play music in their establishments legally. This is because music is copyrighted, and to use it, permission must be obtained from the rightsholder. A music license allows you to do just that, and it can save your business money in the long run.
In addition, using licensed music shows that you care about the artists whose work you are using and want to support them in their careers. This helps establish a positive impression among your customers, which can also help your business.
Often, businesses use music for promotional purposes, and these types of uses may fall under the scope of fair use. However, the more your company uses music, the more likely you will need to pay for a full music license.
Thankfully, many companies that provide music for business will pay these licensing fees on your behalf. This allows you to avoid the risk of costly fines by music rights holders such as ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC, and it also gives you peace of mind that you are complying with copyright law. The subscription fee for these services is generally quite affordable, and they offer ad-free playlists. In addition to this, the music they provide has been screened for any potentially offensive lyrics and is curated for business use.
Music is a key part of a business’s identity and can set it apart from the competition. Carefully selected and licensed music can help complement the brand, distinguish it, and boost customer engagement. It can promote collaboration and improve morale within the company, making it easier for staff members to work together and provide customers with a better experience.
Music licensing can seem intimidating, but the process is quite easy. The main thing to remember is that music used for commercial purposes must be licensed – unless you are using your subscription service (e.g., Spotify). This is because any establishment that serves food or beverages or has 2,000 square feet of retail space or more must have a blanket license from ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC in the U.S. This includes restaurants, bars, coffee shops, retail stores, and banks.
Other music types requiring a commercial use license include live performers, DJs, and karaoke machines. In addition, any establishment that wishes to use music in presentations or meetings must obtain a performing rights license. This includes slide shows, trade show booths, and even company-wide meetings.
First, you should ensure your music is copyrighted and have a master and sync license for each track. After that, create a spreadsheet for each song with complete metadata — including name, album and track, composers/writers’ contact info, genre, recording or release date, and sample rate. Finally, submit your music to online libraries with the appropriate licensing terms.
Playing music in your business can make you feel more productive and creative, but you must be careful not to break copyright laws. Using royalty-free music is the safest way, especially if you’re starting. Licensing songs can be expensive, and spending so much money before you’ve even made a profit could be better!
The good news is that there are companies out there that specialize in licensing music for business use. These companies have libraries of songs that you can use legally in your business. Most have a subscription service, and their terms and conditions are written for business use.
Many businesses use background music for all sorts of purposes. They might play relaxing music in cafes and restaurants to set a mood, upbeat music during presentations or at trade shows to get people’s attention, or modern music in retail stores to create a hip shopping experience.
When licensing music for these purposes, figuring out who owns the song and gets their permission can be complicated. However, there are also catalog-based services that provide licenses for specific uses. This makes licensing the music you need for your business much easier and faster. It’s also a great way to support local artists trying to earn a living from their music.