Hi Everyone! As with anything in the massage community, there always seems to be a fair amount of misinformation spread between colleagues. After my post about some of my favorite tunes to play in the massage room, Mik from TunePocket contacted me about writing a post about legally playing music in a business location for commercial purposes, such as a massage room or spa. I am not a lawyer, and Mik says he isn’t either, but this is an area he knows a lot more about than I do. So, here are some things he wanted to share with our community.
When it comes to using music for commercial purposes, many business owners feel confused. In this post, I will explain what you need to legally play music in your place of business.
Can I play any music in my place of business, massage room, or spa?
If you use music to support or enhance any commercial activity, like a spa or a massage, there is a good chance you may need a special music license. These licenses are called “music performance licenses” and you can get one from one of the performance rights organizations (PROs), like BMI, ASCAP, or SESAC.
Do I always need to get the license?
Even if you legally purchased all the music you use (or have a paid subscription to a streaming service like Spotify or Apply Music), playing music in your place of business still may require the performance license.
The reason for this is that any music you purchase or stream from a music store is owned by someone (a musician, a record label, and so on).
When you use their music to help your business and presumably to make more money that’s considered commercial use. That’s why the copyright law dictates that the music owners must be compensated if you use their music commercially.
As with any law, it’s best to follow the rules. The fines for violating copyright laws are notoriously steep and may range from $750 to $150,000 per infraction.
At this point, you probably think that you should stop using music for good. Here is some good news. The US copyright law provides exceptions that can help small entrepreneurs.
You may not need the performance license if your place of business satisfies any of the following conditions:
1. The music is played quietly in an area designated exclusively for the employees.
2. The music is only played through a small radio or television (like those people use at home) and the broadcaster determines which music is played.
3. Your place of business is below 2,000 sq. feet.
4. You don’t charge any admission fees to let people enter your establishment.
(Source: The Palo Alto Legal Bar Association)
Disclaimer: Please note I’m not a lawyer and this can not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified legal professional in your area to make sure you qualify for any of the above exemptions.
Is there any music I can legally play in my massage room without a license?
Don’t feel like paying a lawyer for a consultation? There is still music you can safely use without having to worry about the license.
1. Music that isn’t under copyright. In the United States, music published before 1926, is generally considered public domain.
2. Music created by musicians and composers who are not affiliated with a PRO. PROs can only collect royalties on behalf of their members.
At TunePocket we offer a large collection of relaxing royalty-free music created by non-affiliated composers. That music will work great as background music during a massage or in a spa without the need to purchase any additional licenses.