At Rockbot, we are big believers in supporting the artists that create the great music for our businesses. Music licenses for restaurants are not just cut and dry. It depends on what type of music you are looking to play, whether you charge an entry fee and much more. Many bar and restaurant owners are unaware of the licensing organizations they should be paying for the performance of music in their business. These public performance fees are primarily paid to the three performing rights organizations (PROs), ASCAP, BMI, & SESAC.
Music licensing is a complex subject, but as it relates to restaurant owners the important thing to understand is that PRO licenses pay the performers of the music (as opposed to copyright owner) and licenses are based on the value of the music to the business. For example, if you own a bar or restaurant that utilizes live music, your fees are higher than using recorded music.
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For more information on the costs of music licensing for restaurants visit the ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC websites. The three PROs have similar licensing costs, and you can see the BMI restaurant license to get a sense for the rate structures.
While we cannot provide legal advice, we're always happy to help answer questions, so please contact us or call us at 415-813-6020 if you need more information on your options and requirements.