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How to Legally Use Music in Your Business

If you're opening an offline space - whether it's a store, restaurant, fitness center, art gallery, or gas station - sooner or later you'll have to choose music accompaniment. It would seem that you pick up your iPhone, connect it into a stereo system - the music is ready. But it's not that simple. Let's take a look at how to properly use music so that there are no problems with copyright and related rights.

Why music is important for business needs

Music is an essential tool in business. It influences consumer behavior and drives customer choice. Scientists at Leicester have found that if songs in French are played in a liquor store, sales of French wines increase.

On New Year's Eve, shopping malls don't just play Jingle Bells or ABBA with the hit Happy New Year for a reason - the music creates the right mood, and customers are more willing to part with their money in exchange for Christmas toys or decorations.

Music in fitness centers is always dynamic (except for yoga or Pilates classes), and in beauty salons they usually put on relaxing tracks. In bars and restaurants, the musical direction depends on the nature of the establishment. The pub will be more likely to play rock, and in restaurants and cafes - the popular.

Why you can't use the usual streaming platforms

If 10 years ago you could play any music from your phone, now everything has changed. Music labels and artists are jealously guarding their licenses. WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization, helps them do this.

Today, any establishment that uses music for commercial purposes must:

  • Pay royalties to WIPO;
  • Submit monthly reports showing all the tracks that have been played during the reporting period.

Inspectors of WIPO come to service establishments to check and, using video filming and the Shazam application, record what songs are played there. If the inspection finds that the music is being used illegally, the director of the establishment faces a fine for piracy.

3 ways to play music legally

  1. The first is to sign a contract with WIPO. In this case, the owner of the venue will have to pay directly to these organizations and submit monthly reports;
  2. The second way is to use music from free libraries or music whose rights have expired. However, there are a few pitfalls here.There are many libraries on the Internet with free tracks, but some songs may still be in the WIPO database. If they are used for commercial purposes, a conflict may arise, which will have to be resolved in court;
  3. A third way is to use services that mediate between WIPO and businesses. Usually, such services take care of all the problems with payments to WIPO and reporting. They also help make playlists for each type of business.


  • Choose music based on your business objectives. If you want people to move around the sales area faster, choose fast, energetic music. If you want visitors to stay longer in your establishment, opt for relaxing compositions.
  • Explore in detail the different options for legal music use. Note that WIPO royalties are per square meter.
  • Choose the most suitable use of music in your establishment.

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