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Playing music in your place of business? You may need licences

Did you know you need a licence to play that song?

It's true. Music is copyrighted material.  When music is played in public, including in a place of business, licences are required.  It is your responsibility to get the right licence(s).

Canada has two main licensing bodies, Re:Sound and SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada). These bodies collect licence fees, as set by the Copyright Board of Canada, from anyone playing or broadcasting live or recorded music. They in turn pay royalties to the members they represent. It is very possible you will need licences from both Re:Sound and SOCAN because they represent different parts of the industry.

 

Re:Sound

  • Licensing fee to broadcast or play recorded music publicly
  • Represents the artists and record companies.
  • Not required if playing regular AM/FM radio
  • May be required if using internet radio, CD players, television, cable or satellite receivers that are capable of playing radio stations
  • Check your corporate cable or satellite radio subscription for possible coverage
  • Access Re:Sound's FAQ here

 

SOCAN

  • Licensing fee to broadcast, play or perform music publicly live or recorded
  • Represents the creators and publishers
  • Not required if playing regular AM/FM radio
  • May be required if using internet radio, CD players, television, cable or satellite receivers that are capable of playing radio stations
  • Check your corporate cable or satellite radio subscription for possible coverage
  • Access SOCAN's FAQ here 

 

Both Re:Sound and SOCAN offer licence fee calculators on their web site.

Please note that CFIB has had complaints of unnecessary fees being levied on businesses. If you believe that improper charges have been levied by one of the licensing bodies please contact the licensing body in question or call your CFIB Business Counsellor at 1 888 234-2232.