A Commercial Music Service Might Not Cover All Your Music Needs

Music that is live, recorded, or played on radio or TV still requires a music license

Branding a business with a commercial music service (CMS) can be tricky business when it comes to music licensing. Although a CMS can really help turn up the volume in any establishment, which performing rights organizations like BMI strongly promote, an agreement that an establishment has with a CMS provider only covers licensing for background music purposes. Once a business uses music in a manner beyond their pre-programmed CMS playlists, such as live – or played on radio or TV – those uses need to be licensed separately. In addition, if the business has an admission or cover charge, or dancing, a separate license is required, as the CMS license does not extend to those uses.

In a nutshell, music licensing fees are determined by intensity of music use. The more dependent a business is on music to drive their profits, the more specific the licensing requirements are. This concept is the same as supply and demand with any business. A songwriter or composer’s livelihood depends on licensing fees so it’s only fair they should be compensated for the integral role they play in the success of a business. Fortunately, BMI’s license for restaurants and bars provides for a la carte uses, so a business owner will only pay for whatever type of music is played and for what use.

Additionally, if a business chooses to play recorded music, radio and/or TV use are included with a BMI bar and restaurant license. This benefit gives the business freedom to experiment beyond their commercial music service to offer even more music to their customers. Since a BMI license fee can also be adjusted up to three times in any contract year, if something doesn’t work, a business can stop that particular type of music use and try something else. With more than 17 million songs to choose from and every conceivable method by which to play them, the value of a music license opens up a lot of possibilities, as well as opportunities to find the brand that speaks for any business.

For more information on how a BMI music license can benefit you, please visit https://www.bmi.com/licensing.