Playing music from your iPod to customers? Stop now. (4 of 4)

In our final post in the series on ensuring the music in your business is legal, we explore who’s responsible for obtaining licenses and the consequences if the proper licenses are not secured.

Responsibility for Licensing Music

The owner of the business where copyrighted material is performed is responsible for ensuring the proper licenses are obtained for every song played.  The business owner is also liable for any infringement of copyrighted music.


Failure to obtain the appropriate music licensing can be very costly,  which is why it’s recommended to obtain licensing prior to playing music.  If you’re found in violation of copyright law, you can be fined for damages as well as for the copyright owner’s legal fees.  The amounts of these statutory damages can easily range from $750 to $150,000 per song if the court finds the infringement was willful.

Multiple Performance Rights Organizations

Performance rights organizations provide intermediary functions, particularly collection of royalties, between copyright holders and parties who wish to use copyrighted works publicly in locations such as shopping and dining venues. Because there are multiple PROs representing different songs and songwriters and their copyrights, you will need licensing from each PRO that represents every song you play.

There are cost efficient solutions available that prevent businesses from expensive consequences while relieving them of license management. Download our free guide on Music Licensing for Business to find out more.