Can I use Spotify or Apple Music to play music in my business?
Music is a great way (we like to think it's the best way!) to connect with customers, keep staff happy and set the right tone and atmosphere of your shop, bar, restaurant or café. But a common misconception is that anything goes when playing this music.
If you’re using a consumer streaming service in a business setting, there are parts that can not only be considered unethical but also straight-up illegal as
- It doesn’t comply with the T&C’s for the consumer streaming service.
- Music labels, PROs and publishers could fine a business for not using a commercial service.
- Artists won’t receive proper compensation for their work.
Let’s break it down a bit more.
Personal versus Commercial Intent
When you listen to music at home, in your car or on your headphones, this is where a consumer streaming service is supposed to be used. But when you stream music publicly (at a public event, for example) and in a place of business, it isn’t legal to stream from Spotify, Apple Music or YouTube, because these services don't
- Allow commercial use
- Recognize or accurately compensate artists, songwriters or other rights holders when their music is being played in a business setting.
"It's not possible to use Spotify in public places (such as bars, restaurants, stores, schools, etc). You may only make personal, non-commercial, entertainment use of the content.”
Learn more at Spotify
When you sign up for consumer services like Spotify or YouTube you agree to those services' terms & conditions. These T&Cs clearly spell out that using these consumer music services in a commercial setting, such as a bar, restaurant or store, violates the T&Cs and is copyright infringement (more details on T&C for Spotify, Youtube and Apple Music).
The value of music for businesses and artists
Knowing how much music can affect sales, it’s not unfair to say that a business streaming music through a personal consumer service account is comparable to having a movie theater playing movies straight from a Netflix account.
While most businesses gladly pay for music, the problem is that most business managers, owners, and other staff members who stream music from consumer services are unaware that this means musicians are not paid what they're entitled to and poses a legal and ethical risk to their business.
Learn more about legal music.