Music Licensing for Events

We have the privilege of working with some of the best musicians and songwriters in the world, and as musicians ourselves, we believe artists should be compensated fairly for their work. One such occasion is the use of music for meetings and events. Legally, owners of events are required to secure the proper usage rights before playing copyrighted music for their audiences. This regulation even applies to playlists being run from popular applications such as Spotify and Apple Music. Not to worry, at SongDivision, we have partnered with the major music licensing agencies to help you easily obtain the licenses you need to use copyrighted music at your events.

Don’t let a music license be the reason that keeps you from the perfect playlist.¬†


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Why you need a music license for events

Performing Rights Organizations (PRO’s) are the entities that collect royalties on behalf of artists each time their music is played publicly. PRO’s monitor music usage in everything from bars and restaurants, to advertising, online listens, and yes, even music used for “Meetings, Conventions, Tradeshows, and Exhibits.”¬†These organizations have successfully argued for legislation making it a fineable offense to use copyrighted music at an event without the appropriate permissions. Licenses start around $130 for a one-off event depending on which PRO you use and can go up from there pending event size and usage requirements for the music.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a PRO?

PRO's are the 'Performing Rights Organizations' that collect music royalties on behalf of songwriters and publishers.

What if I've already bought the music - do I still need a license?

If you've paid for a CD, record, or mp3 download off iTunes, the money you paid only covers you for private use. For any public use, such as at a meeting or event, you need a license.

I've paid for a streaming service such as Spotify/Amazon/etc. premium account, do I still need a music license for my event?

The bad news is that you can't use these streaming services for public events, full stop. Their terms and conditions state that they are for private use only. Even if you have all the right public performance licenses in place, you can't use these streaming services as the 'source' of your music. You need to have paid for a CD, record, or mp3 download off iTunes.

We only want to use one or two current Top 40 or classic songs to play as background music when our CEO walks onto the stage. Do we still need a license?

Yes - you need a license for any public performance of music, which means a gathering of people beyond family and friends.

Can I buy a license for a one-off event?

Yes - if you buy a license from all three PRO's, i.e. ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, you will be covered for any song for an event for up to 1,500 people for around $620.

Shouldn't the band, DJ, event or AV company already have a music license?

If your AV or event company has the correct licenses, you're covered. But bands and DJ's won't have the licenses to cover you as BMI, ASCAP and SESAC do not license bands or DJs. They state that the 'responsible parties' for each event, e.g. the company the event is for, or the lead event or AV company, need to have the licenses in place. Only one license from each PRO is required - so if the company, event company or AV company have the proper licenses, then everyone is covered. You don't need to double up. But bands and DJ's won't have the license.