Is your business violating copyright laws by playing music?

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2018 | Blog

Do you enjoy it when customers walk into your store or café and are enjoying the music you have playing? Most likely, the music is enhancing their experience of visiting your establishment. What would happen if that music had to be turned off? It could happen to you as a result of being sued for copyright infringement for playing the music without proper licensing.

If you are wondering if this is really a thing, it really is. The crackdown on it seems to get stronger everyday as musicians who provide this music continue to struggle to get paid for what they create. How much money are they losing out on? The recent estimate is that artists, musicians and composers are out $2.65 billion when music they have released is being played in commercial locations that do not have the proper license.

Your personal streaming music cannot be shared

Playing music at your business is considered to be a “public performance” and it needs to be licensed under copyright laws. Many business owners incorrectly believe that just because they pay for an online streaming service like Amazon Music or Apple Music, they can just use that for their customers. In the United States, a recent survey about playing music at their business revealed that 71 percent of owners believed they could use their own purchased music and did not realize they needed a license.

Who is playing non-licensed music?

Out of nearly 30 million businesses worldwide, Neilson music says that over 21 million of these businesses are using their own music and not using the properly licensed music. Eighty-three percent of businesses that have 10 or fewer employees are not following the licensing regulations.

Do you need a license?

If you own a retail space, yoga studio, restaurant, bar etc., you most likely will need to obtain a license if you are playing music. This would also include if you just have a television that has an all music channel that you decide to turn on and play.

The good news if you are worried about breaking a copyright law, it does not cost that much to sign up for a music streaming service that would put your business in compliance. Business subscriptions can typically cost around $35 a month whereas a personal subscription is around $10 to $15 a month.