December 27, 2022 Austen Thompson


So you want to play music in your business? Great! But before you reach for that AUX cord, make sure you are legally covered.

Many assume they can plug in their phone and play music at their business. After all, silence is awkward. You, your employees, and your customers don’t want to work, shop, or eat without something to fill the void. However, there are penalties for doing so without a proper license.

Common Questions about licensed music for business.

  1. Can I just play my music from my subscription service?

While you may pay for a personal subscription streaming service such as Apple Music or Spotify, those personal music services are not authorized for use in a commercial environment. To play music in a place of business, you are required to pay a licensing fee.

  1. Is it really that big of a deal?

While it can be tempting to ignore the need for licensed music altogether and take the chances of getting caught, it may not be in your best interest. Be warned, the fines for failure to pay a fee are not cheap.

These fees are handled by what are known as Performance Rights Organizations, or PROs.

  1. What are PROs?

What's the Difference Between ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and SoundExchange?

PROs serve as an intermediary between the music industry and those who wish to use copyrighted material in public locations and businesses.

The four biggest PROs are ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and SoundExchange. Businesses can be subject to significant fees and legal penalties if they don’t secure the proper rights to the music they play.

  1. What are the fines?

Each incident can range from a $750-$150,000 fine. An incident can be just playing one unlicensed song. While some businesses may financially be able to pay the fines, it’s certainly not always the case.

  1. What are some examples?

    • In 2019, ASCAP sued the Meadowlark Bar in Denver for a fine of $27,000.[i]
    • BMI sued one bar in Missouri for an undisclosed amount, forcing the bar to close after the lawsuit.[ii]
    • BMI sued the Green Knoll Grill in New Jersey for more than $20,000.[iii]
    • Vazzy’s Cucina in Connecticut paid $18,000 for illegally playing just nine unlicensed songs.[iv]
    • 69 Taps in Ohio paid $1.5 million in fines for a cover band that played only ten songs.[v]
    • And the fines are not limited to just bars and restaurants; BMI sued the Biltmore Hotel in Oklahoma City after contacting the establishment over 70 times for violation concerns.[vi]
    • And the Hilton Garden Inn in Bloomfield, NY, was sued by ASCAP for $30,000.[vii]
  1. How is going with Muzicraft going to make this easier?

Thankfully, Muzicraft provides music for businesses and will cover all background music licensing issues and fees on your behalf. And with over 70 years in the music industry, we have the experience and knowledge to work with you to find the music that best fits your business. These music subscription services offer professionally designed music playlists specifically created for business use.

We can handle fees with all the significant PROs, so you have access to the most extensive background music library on the planet. Purchasing music for business service also means that all the appropriate licensing fees are covered, so you can play the music you want worry-free.

So, before connecting your Bluetooth speakers and playing your favorite playlist, cover your bases to avoid paying unwanted fines. Paying for a music for business subscription handles the payment of these licensing fees on your behalf. You can feel good about supporting the artists and creators whose music you enjoy, and your company will be seen as socially responsible for using fully-licensed music in your business.









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