Inside Licensing: Create a Buzz With Music (Guest Column)
There’s only one thing better than a cold beer and spending a leisurely afternoon in a taproom with friends enjoying craft brews, and that’s having music in the background. Better yet, live musicians playing for the crowd.
Music is used by businesses everywhere because it creates an atmosphere that encourages customers to relax and enjoy themselves. Isn’t that exactly how you want your customers to feel at your establishment? They’ll stay longer, spend more, and tell friends about the great time they had.
But playing music publicly in any business involves more than just turning it on, streaming it, or hiring live musicians. Music, like all intellectual property, belongs to the songwriters and composers who create it, and that ownership is protected under U.S. and global copyright laws. These laws were written with one purpose in mind: to encourage music creators to continue their craft and reward them for their unique contributions to our culture.
How does a business go about getting the permission it needs to play a songwriter’s music? By working with a performing rights organization such as BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, or GMR. PROs (performing rights organizations) try to make the licensing process as simple as possible by granting permission to play millions of songs with one license and one annual fee. This saves business owners the immense time and expense of tracking down and negotiating fees with all the songwriters and composers of the music they play.
Some business owners believe that, since they only play live original music, they don’t need a license. That’s not true. The term “original music” generally means music written by the performing musicians. Those musicians, however, may also be songwriters who are affiliated with BMI (most professional musicians are members of a performing rights organization). Writers join such licensing organizations because they’re the vehicles through which songwriters and composers are compensated for the public performances of their music. BMI operates on a not-for-profit basis and distributes 90 cents of every dollar in licensing fees back to its affiliates. That means even if musicians play their own music, they can register their sets and be paid through the BMI Live program.
Another common misconception is that, if musicians are playing live music, they’re responsible for paying their own public performance fees. This is also not true. Just as a bar or restaurant owner wouldn’t ask their bartender to secure the liquor license, it’s not up to the musicians to secure the music license. It’s like any other license a business owner must have, and even if the musicians are hired as independent contractors, the responsibility for licensing can’t be passed on to the performers.
Licensing the music you use will not only protect your business, it will also help ensure the continued creation of great music for you—and all of us—to play and enjoy.
[Article originally published in Spirited Magazine, November 2019]
Celebrating over 79 years of service to songwriters, composers, music publishers and businesses, Broadcast Music, Inc.® (BMI®) is a global leader in music rights management, serving as an advocate for the value of music. BMI represents the public performance rights in over 15 million musical works created and owned by more than one million songwriters, composers, and music publishers. BMI is an Endorsed Service Provider of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association.
Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association members who meet the group eligibility requirements can receive an additional 14% discount with SAIF in the ORLA Group plan
[Wilsonville, OR] – SAIF announced today final approval of a 14% discount on workers’ comp premiums for Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) members who meet the group eligibility requirements. This represents the largest discount available for Oregon’s hotels and restaurants in the program.
"With the cost of doing business continuing to rise, this program provides needed coverage along with significant cost savings for hospitality members,” said Jason Brandt, president and CEO of ORLA. "We are excited about the new group discount and the continued opportunities we have to jointly promote safer workplaces with our partners at SAIF.”
ORLA’s endorsed service partnership with SAIF gives eligible ORLA members a workers’ compensation group discount that is validated by NCCI and approved by DCBS. As the restaurant and lodging industries face some of the most difficult workplace safety challenges, this partnership aims to reduce worker injuries and improve member’s safety programs.
SAIF also declared two dividends earlier this year, one based on premium and one tied to safety performance. SAIF determines whether a policyholder dividend is appropriate based on capital levels, claim trends, and the overall economic environment. This year SAIF has seen strong investment returns and favorable trends in injury prevention and claim cost containment.
“As a not-for-profit with a public mission to make workers' comp available and affordable, paying dividends is an important part of the value we offer Oregon employers,” said Kerry Barnett, president and CEO of SAIF. “In addition to dividends, we are proud to offer our customers some of the lowest rates, best-in-class service, and the largest network of workplace safety professionals of any insurance carrier in Oregon,” said Barnett.
Ask your agent for an ORLA Group quote or contact SAIF directly at 888.598.5880.
SAIF is Oregon's not-for-profit workers' compensation insurance company. Since 1914, we've been taking care of injured workers, helping people get back to work, and striving to make Oregon the safest and healthiest place to work. For more information, visit the About SAIF page on saif.com.