Most Common Questions About Playing Music In Your Business

Playing music in business is something that can attract more customers and create the ambiance you need. However, the legal details of music licensing can become too complicated for a business owner. If you are one of them, today we will try to answer some of the most common questions related to playing music. If you have more questions, you can head over to and learn more.

Can I play purchased music?

Legal rights become very tricky when it comes to purchased music. Usually, you would believe that purchased digital content belongs to you and you are able to play it as background music. However, that is not true when it comes to businesses.

By downloading music, you are basically just leasing the content, which means that you are able to play the songs only in a context that is non-commercial. Playing that music in public is considered a public performance, and it is something that violates copyright law. You would need a Public Performance License from a performing rights organization.

Can I stream music from Tidal, Apple Music, Pandora or Spotify?

You might think that this one is entirely acceptable, but that is not true. You should know that there are two kinds of music streaming services: B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Consumer). Since most streaming services such as Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, and Tidal are B2C, you won’t be able to use them for your business.

What are the needed licenses?

If you are going to play music in a business, you will need a license. There are four main organizations: GMR (Global Music Rights), SOCAN (The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada), BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) and ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers).

In order to get a license, you might need to contact a company that pays for public performance licenses. By buying a license from a PRO, you will be able to purchase the music from the PRO’s catalog. You will need to take a look at each organization’s website in order to find out which kind of license you need.

Is one license enough?

If you have a license from one of the organizations you might be wondering whether you should get one from the others as well. This is up to you, but it would be definitely safe to be licensed with all the PROs. This way, you will be able to play any music you want.

There are publishers, composers or songwriters that belong to different organizations, which can make things tricky if they all produce together music. Therefore, licensing with all the performing rights organizations can definitely come in handy.

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