I’ve seen several topics about ASCAP/BMI etc, over the last few months and wanted to share a unique idea.
Most communities have a handful of local, unsigned music groups that would love to offer their music to have played in a local business. Getting on myspace and doing a search by zip code should get you an excellent start and I bet a lot of you would be surprised at the quality of music and recordings these groups have put together. Just have them send you a few original songs and make a mix CD out of them.
Could be a great way to embed yourself into the community too, especially those of you in college towns.
Unfortunately, the music licenses actually apply to playing music in general… Not a specific artist. That is why the fact that I have live music puts my license in a different category than just CDs or satellite radio… I doesn’t matter that it’s a local artist, and I could ask them to be sure not to play a cover song - it’s the fact that I have live music at all that makes me pay for that particular license.
Same thing with CDs, Jukeboxes, Satellite Radio, etc… If you have the ability to play ANY CD, and you do so, you have to pay for that license.
Mr Kona, that’s not true. Your licenses are paying the artist and publisher. If you find a local act that will let you play their music without royalty you’re all set. There is no license necessary just for playing live music - only for permission from the artist and publisher.
By the way, make sure you get your rights in writing from the local artist, lest they come back and sue you later.
This came from a BMI FAQ that I came across… I’m going to take a closer look at all of my licenses to be sure… Am I missing something?
“Q #7 â€“ â€œIf I hire bands playing only original music do I need a music license?â€
A â€“ Most business owners have neither the time nor desire to research ownership of all songs prior to a
performance. Federal Courts have ruled that a business owner is responsible for all music performed in the
establishment, regardless of instructions that may be given to performers about what they should play. Experience
proves that many so-called â€œoriginalâ€ music performances include BMI songs.”
That’s just a way to scare you into buying the license, it’s much harder to regulate a live performance than recorded music. You absolutely do not need any kind of license for the arrangement I’m suggesting.
Please don’t misconstrue my questioning this… I’m certainly not trying to take the side of the three licensing companies that use scare tactics, but…
How can you really be sure that of all the unknown college bands that are making music… That all the songs they are presenting to you… Through all of the hours of music you have to listen to, in order to make a mix CD of “original” music…
How do you know that there aren’t even elements of a copyrighted song in what they are giving you?
You, as the business owner, are responsible for that…