If you run a business, a restaurant, an office or domain over public space where where employees, customers, and clients gather, you are required by law to pay a fee to play music in that space.
Could be a radio. Could be a playlist off an iPod or Spotify. Could be satellite radio or some kind of pumped-in music service. The rationale is that you’re using music–the labour of other people–to enhance your business environment, so you owe the creators of that music a little bit of money.
A typical small business might have to fork out a couple of hundred bucks a year. It’s not much, but it revenues can mean a great deal to creators of musical works.
Unfortunately, not enough Canadian business know that they’re supposed to pay their way. A Leger study called Background Music in Canadian Small Business commissioned by Stingray (they’re big into this space) found that only 11% of Canadian businesses pay these fees.
But there doesn’t appear to be much malice at work. The survey also says that 82% of the people in the study had no idea that this was the law. They are unaware that there is legislation.
A couple of other things:
- 71% of respondents say that music is essential to their businesses.
- 63% had no idea that they’re not supposed to use a private streaming service to broadcast music publicly in their place of work.
- 48% of business owners say it’s important to broadcast Canadian music…
- …but only 18% say they’re willing to pay the tariffs to those musicians.
If you do play music at work and don’t have a SOCAN license, you’re liable to be fined.
But like I said, the costs to do this legally are cheap. And here’s why you need to pay up.
More at The Star.