Five reasons why being Licensed To Play is good for your business

SOCAN’s Licensed To Play program is an easy and affordable way for you to support Canadian music creators. Not only does a fair music license make you legally compliant, it's good for your business. Here's why:

1. License To Play is a mark of distinction and honour
When you show that you support music creators by fairly compensating them for the work that is making your business better, your customers think of you more positively.

2. Customers are loyal to businesses that behave ethically
Research proves that customers who believe that a business is acting ethically are more likely to trust that brand and be loyal to it. Your Licensed To Play sticker says that you are a responsible, ethical and legal part of the music ecosystem.

3. Music Creators deserve to be fairly compensated
Your fair music license fee goes to those who make the music that makes your business better. This is their work, and the vast  SOCAN members rely on royalties from license fees to make a living.

4. It’s the law
That’s right. We don't like getting heavy, but if you play music in a public setting you are required by law to compensate artists for it through fair licensing. So even if you pay for your streaming service or paid for your playlist, if you play that music for your customers, then you must be licensed with SOCAN. You can find out details about SOCAN and copyright here

5. Music adds value to your business
Studies show again and again that retailers who use music reap rewards, like increased store traffic, greater customer satisfaction, and higher sales. In fact, one study showed that when classical music was played at a wine store, customers responded by purchasing more expensive items.

Common questions (and answers) about playing music in your business.

SOCAN’s Licensed To Play program ensures your business is using music legally and ethically, while also supporting the music creators whose music your business benefits from.  Not only does this program make your business compliant with the Canadian Copyright Law, it also demonstrates that your business supports music creators and publishers.

Q: If I already legally downloaded my music, can I just play it?

A: The music you play is always your choice, but songwriters, composers, and music publishers have earned the right to be fairly compensated for the public performance of their music, no matter how your business chooses to use it. When you buy a CD or download music from a legal site, you gain the right to play music in private, but not in public. That’s when you need a public performance licence.  There are different licences for different types of music use such as background music, live music, and recorded music for dancing, and each adds a different value – as determined by a neutral third party called the Copyright Board of Canada – to businesses for entertaining and keeping customers.

Q: I’m already trying to make ends meet and it feels like just another bill to pay. Is music really that important?

A: Music is like other services that you use for your business, like energy, water and supplies. Just as you fairly compensate those suppliers that enable you to run your business, music creators and their publishers deserve to be compensated for the music that your business uses to improve your customer experience. This fair licensing allows songwriters and composers to continue to create the music we love to hear.

For a small amount your business can legally play music that will benefit your customers, your employees, and your bottom line.  Playing music is a win-win-win, so why would you want to go without using it?

Q: Isn’t it expensive to pay for a music license?  I’m not sure I can afford it.

A: The amount to obtain a SOCAN music licence is relatively inexpensive and completely commensurate with the size and scope of your business. Licenses are calculated based on a variety of factors, such as the square footage and revenue of your business. It’s surprisingly affordable to use music legally and fairly compensate music creators and publishers while doing so.

Just like your business, music creators are working to make a fair living from their talent. If a business is using music, becoming Licensed To Play is the ethical, right and legal thing to do.

Q: How do I know that the money I’m paying is actually going to music creators?

A: SOCAN distributes almost 90% of every dollar it collects in licenses. These royalties go to SOCAN's more than 135,000 music creators and publishers that it represents in Canada and many more around the world.

Q: Does a SOCAN license only allow me to play Canadian music?

A: No, a SOCAN license enables you to play any music, of any type, from any origin, in any language from anywhere in the world.

Q: How will people know that I’m paying for my license?

A: When you sign up to become Licensed To Play, SOCAN provides you with a special Licensed To Play sticker for you to put in your window. This simple mark enables you to show your customers – current and prospective – that, as a business, you care about ethical, honest and fair compensation for music creators and their publishers. It – like the music you play – speaks volumes for your brand.  Bars and restaurants – and various other retail establishments across Canada – are demonstrating their support for songwriters and music publishers by displaying SOCAN’s Licensed To Play sticker on windows and doors of their establishment.