A Nudge

I've been nudged. Elbowed. Poked.
In a past post here, I spoke about the music you play in your stores. I suggested subscribing to digital music via cable, broadband, or a service like Sirius radio. I also mentioned creating a playlist via http://www.playlist.com/ and broadcasting it via your computer, or using CD's.

Well, I've been called on the carpet about that.
Someone who seems to be in the music industry, or a lawyer, or has been on the wrong end of this issue, has anonymously commented on another of my blogs about the illegalities of such things as playlists and using cd's in a store. (No comments on Sirius or cable radio). I do appreciate the information and did a bit of research (just a bit - I'm running a business here). I thought I'd pass what I learned in a short 15 minutes along to you, dear readers:

*Don't use CD's in your store. Unless, of course, you are SELLING those same CD's in your store. It's considered advertising at that point and you CAN do that. (As in, the music kiosks that play samples of songs contained on the CD's sold there.)

*And even tho I didn't mention this: Don't play commercial radio in your store because A) That is an illegal re-broadcast of music that is not paid for, and B) You'll get ads for your competitors playing in your store. Don't laugh, I just experienced this at a fast food chain....In Taco Time, listening to an ad for Taco Bell. Ouch.

*Check on the legality of an online playlist before you use it in your store. http://www.playlist.com/ says they are permitted to broadcast on your web site or blog, my 'anonymous' commenter says differently. I can't research it all, so you'll have to do that yourselves before using it.

PLEASE NOTE that I am not a lawyer saying that this or that activity is legal, nor am I advocating or rebuking any music service here on my blog. I am just passing along info, thoughts, and ideas - you are the business owner, so you get to research them and decide what is best for you. It is not my intention to present information that is in any way controversial or misleading.
If you have concerns about anything I have posted here (or on another blog) please email me instead of commenting anonymously on a blog post. I would appreciate that courtesy. Thank you. (And dear Anonymous - leaving NASTY comments in response to mine is just plain rude, especially when you won't sign your name. As I said in my response to you, that blog is not the appropriate place to start a discussion about this issue. This one is, which is why I've moved the subject here. But you knew that, because your comments referenced my post here. I invite your comments on the issue - signed with your name, of course.)

Another consideration for you in regard to music in our stores: I suggest that our independent businesses support the arts and give our local talent some airtime by getting creative.
*Get a recording of the high school Jazz band, choir, or musical ensembles to play in your store. If your daughter or friend is a brilliant pianist, record her work and use that.
WITH THEIR PERMISSION, make a few extra copies and sell your 'Signature Music' CD to keep these artists performing. Pay the artist or donate the proceeds to your school arts programs to keep this in the right spirit.

*Do you have local musical talent who need advertising for parties, events, and such?
Get their Sample CD and play it, and have their contact information present & visible for anyone interested in booking them. (Obviously you will choose music that fits your store image...) Free advertising for them, great royalty-free music for your store. A win-win. Oh, and have them play an event at your store, too - holiday open house, perhaps?

In any case, be aware that just because someone (like me) offers an idea, it may not be OK to do that. I do apologize for any misunderstanding or misleading comments on this subject. Sometimes you just can't win...


  1. Hey Deb, the rules may have changed but last I checked it WAS okay to play music in your store as long as it was under 2000 square feet without having to pay the music publishers. I sell what I play but have dealt with the music publishing companies for years with our entire shopping complex & other properties. And I do recall researching this in the past and that being the answer.

    Also a tip for shops, you can purchase royalty free music for a one time large charge (typically $100-$300 depending on the amount of songs you buy) but you don't have to worry about paying ASCAP & BMI fees (which can be thousnds per year).

  2. Gina, thanks for your input!

    Sounds like you have far more knowledge than I or 'the anonymous commenter' do, so I really appreciate you taking time to post. Perhaps shop owners can follow this up with a search for 'royalty-free music'to get more info...