Dancing on Thin Ice: Understanding the Legal Implications of Music in Your Business

Ensure your music is legally compliant and let the good times roll!

A bar is shown with 5 patrons surrounding the area, it is lit up with red and yellow right lights, although the room is dark elsewhere

If your business is using music for more than just background ambiance and enhancing the customer experience and atmosphere, such as live events or dancing, it’s important to understand the various music tariffs and fees you may be responsible for paying. Understanding the various tariffs and fees associated with using music in your business can be complex, but it’s essential to ensure you are complying with copyright laws and not infringing on the rights of music creators. By taking the time to do your research and enlisting an experienced music licensing agency, you can confidently make sure all of your music needs are compliant with copyright law.

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Let’s dive into the different tariffs and what they mean to business owners. Beginning with the different types of tariffs: Background Music, Live Events, Dance, Fitness, Broadcasting, Streaming, Satellite Radio, Pay Audio, and Adult Entertainment

A drive in concert is being hosted a duck, it is well-lit with pink and blue lights, and fans hang out of the window of their cars

With different tariffs, those providing nightlife entertainment to the public, need to be aware that charges can greatly differ. Bar owners with venues designed specifically for dancing and DJing will not fall under the background music category the same as a local pub with no dance floor. Coffee shops that usually play soothing background music to enhance their customer experience may choose to rent out for a special event such as a book signing with sales of works by the author, this will now follow with a new tariff.

A window of a cafe is lit up at night, the sign on the window reads "relax"

Under the copyright board of Canada’s gazette, they outline the tariff 6.A for dance which covers the use of recorded music to accompany dance in any indoor or outdoor venue, including nightclubs. Although, music used for instruction, such as in gyms or dance studios, will fall under Tariff 6.B.

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Business owners must remain informed and up-to-date about music licensing laws to ensure compliance in their establishments. From the license types and applicable regulations to understanding how these are enforced; this is all part of creating a positive environment for customers, free from potential legal issues or financial penalties. By taking proactive steps towards complying with appropriate licenses and paying fees that accompany them, businesses can enhance their customer’s experience by legally playing music within an establishment – it’s crucial!

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