TheMusicLicence – the ins and outs of playing music legally in your venue

Music plays such a vital role in our day-to-day lives. It is everywhere, whether you’re in your car, the grocery store, your office, favourite restaurant or the after-work bar you fancy a few sun-downers at. There’s no hiding away from it and people thrive with music, so, the big question to ask is, what responsibility do business owners have when it comes to playing music?

Different types of Music Licences

Businesses and organisations who wanted to play music in their venue previously had to obtain two separate licences; one from PPL and one from PRS For Music. Nowadays, these have merged together to form TheMusicLicence where only one licence is necessary, and this exists to ensure that musicians are being properly credited and rewarded for their work.

TheMusicLicence gives businesses permission – from the relevant copyright holders and the people who create the music – to legally play and perform music in their business, whether through the radio, Spotify, a music service, other digital devices and/or live performances. The same licence is required not matter what type or genre of music is played, ranging from the biggest names in music right down to grassroots and independent artists. This same licence represent millions of musical compositions and recordings from UK artists and music creators, as well as international artists through over 100 affiliated societies, in over 150 different countries around the world.

In a nutshell, “TheMusicLicence collects licence fees from UK businesses on behalf of its parent companies, PPL and PRS for MusicPPL then distributes these music licence fees for the use of recorded music on behalf of record companies and performers, while PRS for Music distributes music licence fees for the use of musical compositions and lyrics on behalf of songwriters, composers and publishers.” Therefore, having a licence in any public, commercial, non-domestic space is a necessity as playing music there is classed as a public performance.

If you decide to go down the route of a music provider, such as Ambie, you need to ensure they are a licensed commercial music supplier (via PRS/PPL in the UK and ASCAP/BMI/SESAC/SOUND EXCHANGE in the US), unlike Spotify, Apple Music, and other consumer solutions, which are only legal for private or consumer use. In addition to them being licenced, your venue will still require a licence too. TheMusicLicence allows you to legally play music for employees, customers or any visitors who frequent your business or organisation.

TheMusicLicence Costs

So, the next golden question – how much does TheMusicLicence cost? There are a range of tariffs to cover the different uses of music across the various different venue types. Therefore, the cost of your TheMusicLicence will vary according to your music use, space size, seat numbers and so on. 

TheMusicLicence: when to have or not to have?

With the advent of digital music, there is often a lot of confusion whether a business requires a licence to play music if they have purchased and downloaded from iTunes, or stream from a paid Spotify or Apple Music Account. The answer is yes, a licence is required, as when you buy and download music, then you are actually purchasing a licence for personal use in a non-commercial environment, which differs from playing in a public, commercial space. 

This often is a legal minefield for businesses who may not realise that they need a music licence to do so. Without this music licence, your business is infringing copyright and could be sued for damages should you been caught.

Why music really matters in business (legally)?

Music is an impactful resource for venues who wish to stand out from their competitors, engage with its guests, uphold its reputation and create a desired ambiance. It has a very compelling ability to create, shape and change emotions and behaviours of the customers, guests and staff members. 

It’s also powerful to engage your customers and shape the experience they have in your establishment, be it a hotel, restaurant, bar, co-working space or shop. By choosing the right music to be played (legally) at the right time, you can boost profits and build your brand identity.

Music is central in building positive guest experiences
. According to research by MarketingCharts, 81% of consumers say that business background music lifts their mood, while 71% say it creates a better atmosphere overall. And when guests feel good in a space – they act different within it. Did you know that simply playing music that consumers enjoy makes them 24% more likely to buy a product? It’s no wonder why 84% of organisations who focus on improving customer experience report increased revenue.

It therefore is so important to ensure your background music is carefully tailored to compliment your brand and the audience you want to attract. But it’s equally as important to play these playlists legally with the appropriate licencing, for everything to be above board where the right credit is given, royalties are adhered to, there’s no infringing on copyrights. In addition, by licencing correctly reiterates that your business is compliant, responsible and not doing anything under-handed, offering a holistic service.  

Sound good?

Ambie helps 2,000+ hospitality businesses take control of their background music, creating brand consistency and positive guest experiences which drive sales. Ambie is a licensed commercial music supplier, licenced via PRS/PPL in the UK and ASCAP/BMI/SESAC/SOUND EXCHANGE in the US. If you would like to know more about TheMusicLicence, click here.

If you would like to find out how to ensure you have the right music for your brand, and what’s necessary legally, do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our Music Experts.

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