Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How Do They Know We're Playing Music in Our Store?

Dear Rich: We're going to be opening a pipe and tobacco store and want to play recorded music in it. The landlord for the building says that we will have to pay a fee to ASCAP. My question is if we don't sign up with ASCAP how would they ever find out about our shop? For over 70 years, performing organizations such as a BMI and ASCAP have employed people (unaffectionately referred to as "spies") to locate and report back on establishments that play recorded music. If one of these representatives frequents your tobacco shop, you'll soon get a letter from the respective organization. In other cases, a disgruntled employee or customer may report the establishment to a performing rights organization. Of course there are exceptions -- for example no license is required if your establishment is less than 2,000 square feet -- and we've provided an article with tips on avoiding ASCAP and BMI fees.

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