MAKING THE RIGHT MUSIC CHOICE FOR YOUR BUSINESS

We are often asked “what music source is best for my business?” There is so much to choose from. A licence from APRA AMCOS not only gives you access to literally millions of songs from Australia and the world but it allows you to use music from a range of different sources (or devices).

When you use music in your business and take out all appropriate licences you help support artists by becoming part of the music economy and you instantly become a law-abiding business owner. The commercial benefits of popular and memorable music in a business space are immense.

All the research over many decades focuses on not just using music legally, but about using the right music.

[Read here for our further advice about the benefits of using the right music and more on how music can attract customers, retail customers and drive revenue.]

Ultimately it is your choice as the owner of your business about whether you use music, and if so where you source your music from, however we believe that generally speaking there is a hierarchy of music sophistication from using music that is broadcast (via a TV or radio), through music that has been recorded  and is being re-played in your business (such as on a CD or via digital streaming service) to music from Background Music Supplier services and then live music performances from artists and DJs.

Background Music Supplier Services

To maximise the benefit of using music in your business we suggest you first consider contacting a Background Music Supplier.

There are a range of Background Music Suppliers in Australia who offer music playlists that are targeted to the lifestyle and tastes of your customers. These services offer the most sophisticated option for businesses because the music is programmed by a professional who will seek to match music with your customer base and business brand, sometimes even down to parts of the day where your customers change (or their mood does). Music from suppliers isn’t interrupted by others’ advertisements and it can carry your in-store messaging targeted at your own customers in a week-long cycle. The music these services deliver is regularly updated.

Costs range between around $35 and $200 a month, excluding music licensing fees, depending on the supplier and what other services and hardware are included. You’ll need to consider these costs in your music decision but noting that for retailers and dining businesses, some suppliers have arrangements with us to bundle our music licence fees into the overall fees charged by the supplier. You need to check with your supplier if you can pay our fees via them, or you need to obtain a licence directly with us to ensure you are legally using music.

In many cases we actually have data provided to us by the Background Music Supplier so we can distribute the licence fees exactly to the composers and songwriters of the songs played on their services. Check also whether your supplier provides this data to us.

This is the list of our approved suppliers.

Approved Suppliers

Digital Streaming Services

Today, one in six Australians are subscribed to a personal music streaming service including the more popular ones like Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play and Amazon Music. It is important to note that personal services are just that and the service’s terms and conditions say you can only use the music for non-commercial purposes.

In signing up for an account with these streaming services you would have agreed that you are only using the content this way. While our licences covering songwriters and publishers (and those of PPCA’s – who represent artists and record labels) fix your use of the underlying music to ensure you are not infringing under Australian copyright law, your commercial use is likely to be still outside the streaming service’s particular terms and conditions.

While we cannot legally compel you to do so, we suggest you contact your streaming service provider to discuss with them the use of the service in your business.  

You should also remember that the music you like (or your trainee/employee likes) may not be the music that works best for your customers. The right music curated by a professional can help your bottom line but the wrong music may do the opposite.  And of course, you need to be constantly updating the playlists to avoid repetition and staleness – time that’s better spent serving your customers. Using a Background Music Supplier saves all this time and effort.

If you do use one of the personal music streaming services be assured that the data we receive from those services directs in part which music creators we distribute your licence fees to.

CDs

CDs as background music can be a low-cost and low-tech choice and may well be the right choice for your business. For the cost of your CD library and music licence fees you have simple access to music with no advertising. When you purchase a CD, much like subscribing to a digital music service, you cannot play the CD in a business setting without obtaining all appropriate music licences.  However, unlike digital music services you require no other permissions.

Of course, even though CDs may appear cost-effective as first, unless you are using a stacker-CD player, you’ll need to change the CD every hour or, and depending on the size of your CD library, the music might get a little repetitive for your customers and staff alike.

There are obvious benefits of moving from playing CD to more sophisticated offerings provided by a Background Music Supplier and accordingly fewer and fewer businesses play CDs.

If you do use music from CDs, the licence fees are paid out to music creators according to radio airplay data we receive from stations including contemporary, rock, gold, easy listening and classical music stations.

Radio

Switching on the radio is probably the easiest, cheapest and low-tech way to provide background music. The fact is however, that you are at the whim of the DJ’s music choice and the commercial demands of the radio station to broadcast advertisements as well as non-music content such as news and promotions.

Like CDs there are obvious benefits of moving from radio to more sophisticated offerings provided by a Background Music Supplier

If you do play the radio at your business, the licence fees are paid out to music creators according to radio airplay data we receive from stations including contemporary, rock, gold, easy listening and classical music stations.

Live and DJs

If you really want to stand out from the crowd and your competitors, you could think about a DJ or a live performance (we call this featured music). It may not be appropriate for all businesses but live and DJ performances have the power to provide a unique atmosphere, giving you an opportunity draw extra customers through a distinct “live sound” and via the performers’ fan base. Featured music lifts quiet trading periods and encourages customers to stay longer and refer your business through word of mouth.

What happens if I use music in my business without paying for licences?

If you do not receive the proper authorisation you can be held liable for damages.

Every year APRA AMCOS is left with no choice but to sue a range of businesses in Australia for unlicensed Public Performance of their members’ songs. Escape Bar & Nightclub Pty Ltd in Surfers Paradise didn’t have permission to play Highway To Hell by AC/DC, 24K Magic by Bruno Mars and nine other identified songs and the venue was fined $83,000 ($7,545 per song) as well as their original licence fees. Read more.


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