The DOs and DON’Ts of music purchased online

A.k.a. Can I purchase music online and use it as background music?

Personal Use

Purchasing music through an online service such as iTunes or Amazon is a convenient way to get your hands on a nearly-infinite number selection of genres, artists, and songs.

However, when you spend rupee rupees ₹60 to download your new favorite song, you don’t “own” that song. You’re basically buying a license for personal use of that song.

With “personal use”, you can listen to that song as many times as you want in the comfort of your home, your vehicle, or through headphones. You get the picture — it’s for you to use in your private setting.

What you cannot do is play that song out loud in public, whether overhead in your restaurant, or on a guitar at your bar, or even over your phone lines when you place callers on-hold. This is considered “public performance” and you need a different type of license in order to use the song for any of these purposes.

While it may seem simple to curate your own selection of music for your establishment (just download music from the Internet, plug in your iPod and press play!), if you don’t have public performance licenses for every song, you’re breaking the law.

It may not seem like a serious offense to you, but in reality you’re stealing from copyright holders. Copyright societies such as PPL, IPRS and ISRA send field agents to investigate potential offenders, and you could end up with a lawsuit on your hands.

So, what’s the cost for legal public performance song use?

There are several music licensing companies, each offering a blanket license that covers their associated artists.

The cost depends on the occupancy of your establishment, whether you’re using live or recorded music, and a few other factors.

If you’re going to do it yourself, the simplest solution is to obtain a blanket license through each of PPL, IPRS and ISRA . This will cover all the artists associated with each of those agencies.

On the other hand, when you work with a full-service company like Musicwhim, you’ll be completely covered as part of the service agreement.

If you’re interested in a simple, straightforward way to obtain legal background music for your business, visit today.