Imonggo Music-Licensing-1024x630

Music is a windfall in business. It has been proven not only to draw in customers but also to create a pleasant atmosphere to engage employees. Music is one of those subtle but powerful instruments that you can use to give your business an edge.

There is only one thing that you need to remember when playing the tunes in your store: music licensing. Thats right, you need to get permission and approval before using somebody elses copyrighted music. This gives proper compensation to the owner of the licensed work.

In the United States, there is a copyright code that protects musical recordings. The code includes the song itself, the lyrics, and the actual performance.

To explain how the industry works, here is an excerpt from a 2016 paper entitled Money for Something: Music Licensing in the 21st Century by Dana A. Scherer, an analyst in telecommunications:

From the viewpoint of copyright law, the music industry comprises three distinct groups of interest: (1) songwriters and music publishers; (2) recording artists and record labels; and (3) the music licensees who obtain the right to reproduce, distribute, or publicly perform music. Examples of music royalty payers include broadcast radio stations; music retailers; digital music streaming services; bars, restaurants, and general retailers; and concert venues and promoters.

Its true that music licensing can be a hassle, but if youre really serious about establishing your brand, the trouble will all be worth it.

There are two major companies in the U.S. that handle music licensing, namely the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI). Both organizations operate on a not-for-profit basis.

Another organization that shares a small portion of the music licensing market is the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC). While ASCAP and BMI represent about 90% of songs in the United States, SESACs share is only around 5%. You need to pay these organizations the corresponding royalty fees in order to get public performance rights. Otherwise, you can be sued if you get caught.

Its true that all this can be a hassle, but if youre really serious about establishing your brand, the trouble will all be worth it. However, if you dont have the resources yet to get licensing rights, you may still amp up your store by playing the radio. The only downside here is that your customers would have to listen to so many commercials, and that may affect their mood.

At the end of the day, you get to choose what strategy to use. (PA)

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