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A Primer On In-Store Music Licensing

The exposure that artists receive from having their songs playing in stores, restaurants and other businesses is dramatic. From increased Shazam numbers, to an uptick in social media chatter, to just getting consumers to hear a song, the value of in-store play is well-founded. In-store music is provided by any one of a number of providers who generally provide both playlists (either custom-curated or genre-based programs) and devices/audio equipment. These providers typically cover retailers for all the licensing needs that arise from in-store music. The licensing of music is quite complicated and is driven by what type of technology is utilized when delivering music to each store.  Labels, publishers and artists are often confused and, as an important partner for the music business, we often get asked about how it works. So, we decided to publish this primer on in-store music licensing, to help clear the waters. Thanks to Gary Greenstein of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati for some editorial suggestions. First, just a refresher that every song consists of 2 separated copyrighted works – the master (the sound recording) and the composition (the musical work). And so in every licensing scenario, both need to be addressed. MUSICAL WORK PERFORMANCE: Let’s start with the universal license needed whenever a piece of music plays in a store: the public performance license for compositions. Regardless of how a piece of music arrives at a store, anytime it plays and the ears of the public can hear it, there is a performance right of the musical work copyright owner… Read More »A Primer On In-Store Music Licensing


The Stats:
Name: Rob Salmon – Director of Music Programing / El Media Group / NYC
Programs: Tao Group, Delta Airlines, Zuma, Thompson Hotels

Q: How do you find music for your programs?
I spend alot of time shopping and researching music online. I really believe in finding my own music not blindly following what is trending. For music curation you need to have your own sense of style and vibe, I will use blogs as a meter of what is happening to get an idea of a genre/scene, but rely on my own experience and ears to make the final decision if a song will make it to a playlist. I shop at Itunes, Juno Download, Traxsource, Beatport and more recently Bandcamp, I really like the idea of buying straight from the source and the artist getting a more direct cut of the revenue. Records Pools/ Promo services I work with include Shoplifter, Fatdrop,Tailor Communication, Dispersion PR or direct promos from producers/labels.