In today's fast-paced world, music can be a source of solace and tranquility. Whether you're running a business or simply looking to create a soothing atmosphere in your home, the right music can make all the difference. But navigating the complex landscape of music licensing can be overwhelming. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the concept of blanket licensing and how it relates to performing rights organizations (PROs), as well as the potential challenges and solutions for finding the perfect music for your needs.
Performing rights organizations (PROs) have developed a blanket license that grants access to their entire music catalog. Businesses can ensure that the income generated from playing music is distributed fairly to musicians, composers, and music publishers by paying a monthly or annual fee to these organizations. Nonetheless, not all musicians and composers are protected by PROs, and obtaining licenses from multiple organizations can be difficult and expensive. A solution is offered by services like Cloud Cover Music, which provides access to a vast music library for an affordable subscription fee.
A Closer Look At Blanket License Music
A blanket license is a type of license that allows the purchaser access to the entire musical catalog of the copyright holder, which could be an individual artist, a music publisher, or a record producer. The blanket license allows the purchaser to use the songs in covered situations, such as playing them in a business.
Blanket licenses are often managed by performing rights organizations (PROs) or publishing administrators and collectives, which also administrate issuing licenses to digital service providers (DSPs) such as Cloud Cover Music. These DSPs accept payment from companies for access to a streaming music catalog with specific licensing agreements attached, such as the ability to play music in a business like a restaurant or spa.
Obtaining A Blanket License Music
Obtaining a Blanket License Music requires an understanding of how copyright societies and their licensing process work. When a song is created, there are typically two main parties involved: the composer and the editor. Both parties hold 50% of the rights to the song and often join a copyright society to manage these rights. These societies issue licenses to users for a fee. However, there is a difference in the registration process for composers and editors.
Composers can only join one society, while editors must be members of all copyright organizations in the territory representing the composers. This means that if a composer in the United States joins the BMI society, BMI exclusively manages all of that composer's songs.
The publisher of those songs can still claim 50% of the rights from the society the composer has joined. Additionally, an editor must be affiliated with multiple societies if they work with multiple composers affiliated with different societies. This ensures that the societies can manage the music catalogs that the editor has in common with those composers. With this understanding, one can then proceed to acquire a general license.
A Look At Alternative Licensing Options Besides A Blanket License Music
Contacting each PRO and negotiating a contract can be time-consuming and ineffective as a song may be covered by multiple PROs. There are other options available.
Commercial Music Streaming Services
Services like Cloud Cover Music offer business-centric licenses for easy access to a vast catalog of songs and curated playlists. With a low monthly fee, you won't have to worry about the legalities of playing the songs in your business.
1. Public Domain Songs
Finding songs in the public domain can be a time-consuming process, but it is a viable option. In the US, copyright expires 70 years after the author's death. However, modern versions of an old song may be protected by different copyrights.
2. Radio Exemptions
Businesses with a smaller area of 2,000 square feet or less and using a music source with six speakers or less can play commercial radio stations. However, playing CDs or recorded music is not allowed.
3. Original Music
Creating your own music and playing it yourself may not require a copyright, but it can take away time from serving customers.
Who Is Responsible For Issuing The Blanket License For Music?
The responsibility for issuing blanket licenses for music typically falls on copyright societies that manage the rights for artists. These societies include:
- SGAE in Spain
- ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC in the United States
- SOCAN in Canada
- APRA and PPCA in Australia
- ACEMLA in Latin America
- PRS and PPL in the United Kingdom
Once artists choose to delegate the management of their copyrights to one of these societies, the society will issue the necessary licenses. In some cases, however, artists choose to retain their own rights or delegate them to platforms outside of copyright societies. These instances are relatively uncommon, but if you wish to obtain a general license for the songs of one of these artists, you would need to negotiate directly with the artist or the platform managing their rights.
Is It Possible To Acquire General Music Licenses Outside Of Copyright Societies?
A general license grants the right to utilize all the music in a music library. While copyright societies typically own many popular songs and hits, there are also lesser-known songs that are not affiliated with these societies and are instead represented by the artists themselves or other platforms. Examples of these platforms include Global Music Rights and The Music Case. A online GOOGLE search can also reveal additional options.
Is It Possible To Obtain A License For A Single Song?
Yes, it is possible to obtain a license for one song. If you only plan to use one song, you don't need to purchase a general license. Instead, you will need a specific license for the intended use of that particular song.
Music licensing can be a complex and overwhelming process for businesses looking to play music in their establishments. Blanket licensing, managed by performing rights organizations (PROs), offers a solution by granting access to an entire music catalog for a monthly or annual fee. However, obtaining licenses from multiple organizations can be difficult and expensive. Alternative options, such as commercial music streaming services and public domain songs, are also available. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of copyright societies to issue blanket licenses for music, but it is also possible to acquire general music licenses outside of these societies or obtain a license for a single song.