Music is a key part of any live event. Think about the different types of music used at strategic times to influence the mood in your event space. Music licensing for events makes it all possible. Background music fills dead air and helps set the tone and mood for sessions, breaks, and social events. A popular walk-up song might energize the audience or draw attention to an impactful moment. Music licensing gives you the ability to play music in all of these described scenarios. When selecting the music for your event, ask yourself about the context in which it will be played to figure out what you’ll need.
Music Licensing at Events
Is your event a traditional in-person event or virtual? Do you have plans to record your event? Will you need to edit tracks to play while your presenters or award recipients walk on stage or off? Or, do you need songs from popular artists for background ambiance while your guests enter your meeting space or social event? Make sure you understand the rules so that you’re covered. In this blog post, we will look at two main types of music – covering 99% of the needs we see in traditional in-person and virtual/ hybrid events – and the licensing requirements for each.
Commercial Background Music
This is the music we all love from famous artists and is the most requested. Playing this type of music in a public setting requires a Performance Rights License. And yes, your live event is most likely considered a “public setting.” This type of licensing is obtained through Performance Rights Organizations (PROs), such as ASCAP, SESAC, BMI, and GMR. The popular music heard in your local places of business requires the same process. The business would have gone through PROs or a 3rd party to acquire the rights to play the music that enhances their business.
As a result, artists receive payment for their work, which allows them to keep cranking out those tracks that we love. Performance Rights Licenses cover the live playback of popular music in its original recorded format only. Note that you cannot edit, record, stream, or sync this content with other content without additional licensing considerations.
This is more generic production music that you can use in various ways without further licensing concerns. This is the swiss army knife of event music. Do you want to have ‘waiting’ music so your virtual event attendees know they’ve connected? Do you want to play energetic music to celebrate your CEO walking onstage? Will you record your event? There are royalty-free tracks in every imaginable category to add that little extra something to your event. You must use royalty-free music to edit, record, stream, or sync with other music. Failing to do so could result in hefty fines or flag you for copyright infringement if you try and upload your event recording to social media sites.
Knowing Your Options
There are many use cases for music in live and virtual events. For each unique event and event segment, it is critical to know and understand your options. For traditional in-person events, performance licensing often covers popular music in its original recorded format from known artists. Anything more would require specially negotiated terms with the artist or label itself. However, with hybrid or virtual streaming as well as pre-recorded events, Royalty-Free music gives you the freedom to pay for the content once and use it, however, and as often as you’d like.
Event Technology partners are often in the driver’s seat as it relates to music as a production element of your event. If playing music is a service they provide, they should be expected to think about copyright protection. However, if they do not, you could unknowingly be subject to large fines and the stigma of intellectual property theft to undermine your brand. Make sure to ask your AV company what measures they have in place to protect you at your next event.
Need Holiday Event Music?
PSAV has done the legwork to cover your event music needs. With the holidays coming up, you can add PSAV Music to your virtual, hybrid, or in-person Holiday event. Learn more here.
- Music Licensing for Events: In-Person, Hybrid, and Virtual - October 15, 2020