Can I use Spotify or Apple Music to play music in my business?
Short answer: No.
Music is a great way (we like to think it's the best way!) to connect with customers and set the right tone and atmosphere of your shop, bar or café. But you can’t legally stream Spotify, Apple Music or even Youtube in your business, because these services don't
1) allow commercial use
2) recognize or accurately compensate artists, songwriters or other rightsholders when their music is played in a business setting.
Personal versus Commercial Intent
When you listen to music at home, or in your car, or in your headphones, use a consumer streaming service. But when you stream music publicly and in a place of business, you’re not allowed to use your personal Spotify or YouTube account to play music.
”Spotify is for personal entertainment only and not for commercial use. This means it can’t be played in public places such as bars, restaurants, stores, schools, etc.”
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).
This is because artists, composers and other rightsholders are entitled to a different compensation if their music is used in a business. A business streaming music through a personal consumer service account is like 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 robs musicians of the money they're entitled to and poses a legal and ethical risk to their business.
But ignorance is no excuse when labels, PROs or publishers come knocking on your door with a stiff fine. At the end of the day, it boils down to corporate responsibility. It’s up to you to make sure the music your business plays is ethically and legally sourced.