socan play

I just got a call from a car dealer in Montreal asking for details about playing background music in his showroom.

He recently had a visit from a SOCAN Licensing Agent who informed him that he had to pay a fee for playing music in his business establishment. This was new to him and he wanted more information.

In 2014 SOCAN launched a campaign to contact retailers across Canada regarding music licensing, so if your business plays copyrighted music for the public, you’ll want to make sure you have obtained the appropriate license (or licenses) in order to do so.

So before you get a visit, here’s some information to help you make sure you’re complying with copyright.

What Kind of License Will You Need and How Do You Get One?

There are two (2) ways of getting your licence. You can get it directly with SOCAN with a Background Music licence under Tariff 15A, or through a subscription with a Background Music Supplier (such as Couture Media Inc) under Tariff 16.

If you choose to go your own route, where you purchase your own music such as CDs, digital downloads, Internet-based radio, or TV you will need to pay Tariff 15a. It is calculated by the square footage of your business.  It is an annual blanket license that allows you to play background music for the public in your establishment. . The fee is $1.23 per square metre.

Tariff 16

Tariff 16 covers background music and on-hold music provided by a music supplier. These music suppliers (like Couture Media) will often offer subscription-based packages of music to suit your customers and your brand.

When you purchase a subscription through a background music supplier, your SOCAN license fees will be paid by your subscription to your supplier (instead of directly to SOCAN as with Tariff 15A).

Are Any Other Licenses Required to Play Music at Your Business?

In addition to SOCAN licenses, you will need to obtain a license from Re:Sound in order to legally play music. SOCAN represents the rights of composers and music publishers, while Re:Sound represents the rights of artists and record companies. Here is a fee calculator for Re:Sound.

If you have any questions we’d be glad to help you out.


  1. Any chance you can tell me the pros and cons to using a company like Mood Media for my business? I am reviewing many options and want to be sure that I choose the right one for me. I’m currently doing the research aspect to avoid setting up more than one provider within a short period of time. The Mood Media page that I am referring to is

    Also are licensing fees different based on the company chosen to provide background music services?

    Richard Barnett

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