Should I use a streaming music service for my business?

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We’ve lost count of the number of streaming music services out there today.  They include Spotify, Apple Music, Qobuz, Deezer, Tidal and about 3 dozen others. Can you play these in your business? The answer is NO. Not legally at least.

It comes down to licensing. These services, either their free or premium accounts, are designed for personal use only and are not licensed for commercial use. In fact, songs downloaded from iTunes and even playing your old CD’s are not permitted.

The problem lies with paying and covering all the Rights for the music in a commercial setting. To play music legally in a business requires one to obtain several licenses:,

Which music licenses do i need to pay?

Performance Rights, [Socan, ReSound] Mechanical Rights [CMRAA-SODRAC] and the copyrights [CONNECT]. Music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal etc do not cover the , Public performance, Mechanical and Copyrights for commercial settings like stores and restaurants. These streaming services pay a cheaper rate to cover music rights for personal use only. So Spotify in your car or living room is legal but Spotify in your store is not.

As a business, you may already be aware and paying for performance rights to SOCAN and ReSound. SOCAN collects on behalf of the writers and composers while ReSound collects for the musicians who perform on the songs.

There are two other separate licenses required under current copyright laws to legally play music in your establishment.

The Mechanical (CMRRA) and Copyrights (CONNECT).

Mechanical rights granted by CRMRAA in Canada is the permission to reproduce a musical work, be it, either physical like a CD, iPod or a stream transmission. The copyright fees are collected by CONNECT for the record companies and publishers, providing the permission to use copies of their music. These licenses are not covered by a free or premium personal music streaming account from Spotify, Apple Music etc.,

In the US, Performance Rights Organizations (PROs) represent songwriters and music publishers. To legally play music in your business you must pay a fee to ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and or Global Music Rights. If you’re using popular music you’ll need to pay all 4.

All these organizations are active in visiting stores, bars, hotels, spas and restaurants and if they discover you have been playing music without paying for the appropriate licenses, you may be slammed with heavy fines. In Canada, some of these rights organizations can go as far back as 10 years and that can turn into a hefty bill.

So can I use Spotify or Apple Music in my business?

A look at Spotify’s terms and conditions section 5 specifies: Spotify Free and Premium accounts are for personal, non-commercial use only. Any use of Spotify – whether you have a free, unlimited or premium account – is not legally licensed for commercial or public use in Canada. It’s the same for Apple Music.

Another major reason you shouldn’t use music streaming services in your business, they are not designed to play in a business. Their playlists include album cuts with expletives, live versions with clapping & chatting and songs of the wrong tempo to meet the objectives of the mood you are trying to achieve. Also, there is the issue of short playlists with high repetition. You’ll also find volume fluctuations between tracks. If you have multi-locations, it’s difficult to maintain consistency and control of what is being played in all your outlets.

Use an in-store music service designed and maintained specifically for businesses. One where the music library and playlists are built on knowledge, research, creativity, and years of experience. Software designed with a sleek interface so you can control all your music in all your locations at any time from anywhere in the world. Rest easy knowing all current music rights are covered without all the worry. Check out our different solutions that may be right for you.

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