Many businesses rely on music as an on-site branding tool or to set a specific mood for their customers. Because of its unique value, music is protected by copyright laws. Most music can only be played publicly with a proper license.
You Have Options
As a business owner or manager, you can pay for a service that provides music, in which case, the provider is responsible for maintaining the license.
Another choice is to license music from a company that owns a music library.
A third, but unlikely, option is to negotiate separate licenses with the copyright owners for each piece of music you play.
Whichever path you prefer, it's important that you choose one if you want to use recorded or live music in your company's public areas.
The Bad News
There are severe penalties for copyright infringement. They can include a civil suit in federal court, damages of up to $20,000 for each copyrighted song played, and legal fees. Criminal charges can be brought against those who willingly use copyrighted music without a license. Penalties include a fine of up to $25,000 and/or up to one year in prison.