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ASCAP Licensing Guide: Tips for Businesses to License Music the Right Way




Do you need a hand figuring out which licenses to stream music? It can be tricky – that’s why ASCAP created an easy guide to help businesses determine whether they’re licensed and playing it safe when licensing music online. ASCAP is the music rights organization that’s been protecting the rights of songwriters, composers, and music publishers for over a century. For the first time ever, ASCAP updated its music licensing for businesses to account for digital. But many companies might not know how they can engage with ASCAP and legally license their services.

Which Licenses Do Businesses Need to Stream Music?

ASCAP’s music licensing guide for businesses covers all the basics, but it’s a lot to take in. Here are some tips to help you get started. If you’re a business that plans to use music in your marketing or location, you’ll need to license the compositions (lyrics and melody) and the sound recordings (the actual recording). 

The three main types of music licenses for businesses are:

A Standard License covers public performances of copyrighted music at retail locations. This includes restaurants, bars, shops, and other businesses that want to play recorded music in their stores or venues. A Standard License will also cover live performances by musicians playing copyrighted songs on-site or off-site at special events like weddings or corporate parties.

A Streaming License covers public performances of copyrighted music over streaming media such as websites, apps, and social media platforms.

A Webcasting License allows you to broadcast live performances over the internet or through other wireless means.

Are You Fully Licensed with ASCAP?

ASCAP licenses thousands of businesses that play music in their locations daily. Most of our licensees are restaurants, bars, hotels, and other hospitality businesses. But if you’re not sure whether your business is licensed with us, here are some tips to help you get started:

Check Your Music Licenses: If you’re unsure whether your business has the right licenses for playing live music or using recorded music in its establishment, you can learn more about ASCAP or BMI licensing opportunities and other performance rights organizations (PROs). You can also search our database by selecting “Search ASCAP Database” at the top of this page.

ASCAP Streaming Licenses

In the world of A/V streaming, we license major players such as Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Paramount+, Peacock, and many others, including Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Apple TV, and many others. 

Here’s the basic rundown. If you run are a bar, restaurant, or any business open to the public that plays music inside or outside, then you need to purchase an ASCAP “P-License.” This license allows you to play ASCAP music in your business. Bars and restaurants used to use jukeboxes for the most part, but over the years have moved to streaming background music from Spotify and other platforms like Pandora or Apple Music. Be sure to check with your local city if this is prohibited in your area, as it should always be legal.

Soundtrack Your Brand for All Your Streaming Needs

Music laws are complex, and the licenses required vary from country to country. You need licenses to stream and store music on a device. You will also need a license if you wish to stream specific songs at any time. Only Soundtrack Your Brand offers this music streaming service for businesses in the most comprehensive way possible, since they have the world’s largest catalog of songs, playlists, and artists. Plus, they were formally Spotify Business, so they have a pretty big edge on all the new kids on the block (wink wink). 

It’s a different experience playing background music for retail stores than it is to listen to it at home or even on a website while you work. Therefore, commercial music licenses are required. You will need a public performance license to play music for your customers or staff. The law considers your business a public place. So, before you stream that next song, playlist, or any background music at your place of business – make sure you’re doing it legally. Of, you could face some steep fines from the copyright holders. 

A coder by profession, Patricia has always had a keen interest towards the technology world. At present she is a writer for USA Reformer and covers all the latest advancements in the world of technology.

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