Adapted from Libby Lussenhop, The Michigan Restaurateur

You might have the speaker system, the music streaming service, iPod, and the auxiliary equipment to play songs in your business, but are you missing one crucial element? A music license can’t be seen, or heard, but if you’re playing music, you need to have it.

Music can be your customer’s first impression of your establishment; it can support and shape your business by setting an atmosphere and a pace of life. Jessica Frost is senior director of industry relations for Broadcast Music Incorporated BMI. She states the three key things to protect the value of a songwriter’s craft.

1. No matter how accessible music is these days, you still have to have a license if you plan to play music publicly.

A lot has changed about music in the electronic age, you can listen to anything for free on the web, and you can copy entire music albums from one device to another, but one thing remains the same; the creators of music deserve to be compensated for their work.

This applies to bars and restaurants, as well as television, radio stations, and more. BMI is an American performing rights organization [PRO] and represent songwriters, composers, and music publishers to make sure they are paid for their work. Litigation is costly for both the defendant and the business.

2. It’s not just about the legal risk; songwriters simply deserve to be paid for their work.

The professionals at performing rights organizations don’t want to take anybody to court; they are in the business of protecting songwriters. “Songwriters are the ‘unsung heroes.’ They might be behind the scenes, but without them, the brilliant, award-winning artists we know and love would have nothing to sing in the first place; 85 cents of every dollar goes back to the songwriter,” Jessica stated.

3. It’s easy to obtain and maintain a music license.

Visit www.bmi.com. Discounts are offered to restaurants, bars, and allied business.