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Background music is an important part of a business. When used properly, it can create ambiance, reinforce a brands stance, and even increase sales through psychological influence.

Businesses have a few options when approaching the selection of music for business legally. Here are some to consider.

Note: This article includes affiliate links where the author may receive a commission.

1. Get a Business Music License from BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC

The most common option chosen by businesses is the direct licensing route. This is when businesses get a BMI or ASCAP license and manage the music themselves.

If you're managing the music on your own, getting a music license is legally required. Songwriters need to be paid for their works under copyright law. Keep in mind that using consumer streaming services like Spotify or Pandora for your business may cause problems. You can check out some common questions about music licensing in one of our previous posts.

2. Avoid BMI and ASCAP fees - Use Royalty Free Music for Business

If you'd prefer to save money, but still need music, you can play royalty free music in your business. While this solution can help you avoid paying the PROs, it will likely result in lower quality music, and can make it difficult to find a large variety of songs.

If you'd like to go this route, make sure you check if the music really is in public domain. Some music that's listed as royalty free actually has an upfront fee from the creator, and if you make the mistake of playing music that isn't really royalty free, you could find yourself in a lawsuit with the PROs that will result in massive fines.

3. Direct Licensing with Independent Musicians and Labels

This route can be used for businesses looking to build relationships within the music industry. While more time consuming, it may be in the best interest of small businesses to feature local artists if they're interested in strengthening their stance on supporting the local community.

Working with independent labels directly may be more expensive, so it may be best for you to simply license the music from BMI and ASCAP or choose a music service for businesses. However, individual local artists may be willing to waive any royalties or accept a small payout for the exposure depending on their current level of popularity.

4. Use a Music Subscription Service for Business

Music services for business can simplify the entire process by offering a fully licensed catalog of music for business use. Additionally, these services can help with customized music selection to find the best songs to reinforce your brands personality.

If you're interested in this option, check out Dozmia for Business.

Hopefully this provided you with some valuable information about the different options you have for legally using music in a business setting.

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