Streaming Music at Your Workplace. Is it Legal?

Business owners red come in we're open sign

Business owners with great reason love streaming music for their clients and staff.  Music changes the consumer experience by a great deal.

A PROPER MUSICAL SELECTION INCREASES THE TIME SPENT IN THE STORE

  • 40% of clients spend more time in the store if they feel the music is well chosen.
  • Better music = more time spent = more sales.

THE ADEQUATE MUSIC INCREASES FIDELITY TO THE BRAND

  • 21% recommend you if they felt good with the music
  • 31% come back if the music is appropriate

MUSIC CREATES IDENTITY

  • 97% of general managers of the best retailers in the world say that music strengthens the brand personality.

Notably, these facts from snail music are a powerful statement. With that said, streaming music companies such as Pandora or Spotify in a workplace has complications and legal limits. Our goal is to break down legalities of music in a business setting and help you avoid any mishaps or penalties.  In addition to, providing you with reliable options of streaming music legally.

streaming music on a personal device

Streaming Music Services are Usually Limited to Personal Use.

When a song plays, you may find yourself using the expression “this is my song!” However, while we may have emotionally adopted the song, it still legally belongs to the songwriter who created it and the music publisher who markets it. To use their property in a public setting, you need to ask permission. The term for commercial licensing is “public performance” that is, a gathering of people in a public place not including social settings of a small circle of family or friends. Licensing agencies like ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC actively seek out businesses using unlicensed music and assess fines and penalties. These agencies are actually enforcing U.S. copyright law by collecting royalty fees and paying them to the musicians and songwriters that created the music.  Therefore, a public performance license is required in order to stream owned music.

Old school boombox

What about CDs, Tapes, Radio or TV?

Permission is needed to play records or tapes in your establishment. Interestingly, the ASCAP highlights permission for radio and television transmissions in your business is not needed. A problem to consider with radio or television is the annoying commercials in between that could drive consumers out of your business.

What About Streaming Music Just For Staff?

There is a bit of a gray area on playing music for your staff.  It’s important to note that, licensing is not required for the “private performance” of songs. There have been many lawsuits that stem from the disagreement of what constitutes as a public or private performance.  Nevertheless, one can convincingly argue that a group of fewer than five co-workers listening to streaming music within the confines of their office is a private performance.  As the number of employees grows, the closer you get to the threshold of a public performance.

Commercial Licensing vs. A  Music Service.

More often than not, a commercial license is limited to mood music. This mood music you hear in the background at a doctor’s office, hair salon, or grocery store. A commercial license doesn’t cover service for music used to accompany dancing (including ballrooms and dance studios), bowling, skating or instructed health club classes; or for music used in a location where a cover charge is charged. (Guide Through Legal Jungle)

In comparison, the benefit to obtaining your business music via a service is that all the licensing is in their hands. Your company will not need to directly interact with the Pros.

Elite A/V Recommends SiriusXM for Business.

At any rate, the cost of worry can be compared to a heavy load.  Lifting that burden and getting a quality service is what we recommend. SiriusXM for business requires a low monthly fee and a one-time purchase of The Grace Digital Business Music Player or Sonos wireless products.  This option allows you to play music directly from the internet over your business stereo or phone system. It’s perfect for anything from medical clinics to hotel restaurants, streaming over 50,000 stations with high-quality digital sound for your listening enjoyment.

sirius xm radio for commercial streaming

sonos product and full line of speakers

In conclusion, We would be happy to help you figure out what music choice is best for your business. Call us today to find out what streaming service and equipment we recommend for your specific needs.  A well-respected technician would be happy to answer any of your questions.

Related posts

Britni Yates (Author)

View Post