We all know how relaxing it is to listen to music to whilst having a massage or reflexology, or how uplifting the right music can be when doing exercise. However, if you play music in your workplace then it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct music license in place and comply with copyright law covered in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
For health and wellness professionals, this would include playing music during client appointments, in classes, in a waiting room, or if you use it as background music to any videos or recordings you produce for clients eg online training or meditation.
If you are playing music at an event then you may also need a music license. Playing music includes music CDs, MP3, radio and music on the television.
Playing music includes music CDs, MP3, radio and music on the television.
What licenses are required?
There are two music licenses you need to consider: a music license from PRS for Music and a license from PPL. Both companies work to protect copyright for their members; PRS collects and distributes royalties on behalf of writers, composers and music publishers whilst PPL collects and distributes the license fee to recording companies and performers.
The type of music license you need will depend on the size and type of premises and how the music is used. Please refer to the respective companies’ websites for clarification and details on how to apply for a license.
Don’t think that no-one is going to check because they do and therapists have had to pay fines. Not only that, they have had to pay license fees in arrears for the times they have played music without the correct license in place. Infringing copyright can even mean facing legal proceedings.
Seeing clients in their own homes
Using music in a domestic setting can be a little confusing. Perhaps you are a personal trainer, yoga instructor or mobile therapist who visit clients in their own homes. In these instances, you might take your own CDs or MP3 player to play during the appointment, in which case you will require a music license.
Conversely, if you do not take your own music but the client puts on their favourite music CD or the radio during the appointment, then PRS tell me that you are not liable for a license.
Renting a therapy room
If you rent a therapy room and you play music, it is your responsibility, as the owner of the business being carried out in that room, to ensure you have the correct music license. Do not assume that the owner of the business premises has a license, because if they do not play music at all then they will not require one.
The best way to stay within the law yet still use music within your practice is to use royalty-free music.
Royalty free music is music that you can legally use within your business and at your business premises without having to obtain licenses from either PRS or PPL. You will pay a one-off fee which will be included in the price of the music you purchase. Whilst it does make the music a little more expensive, it does give you peace of mind to know you are using the music legally.
Companies such as Silencio Music * who offer royalty free music will have a standard license agreement that will be on their website or sent to you when you download the music. This license will outline what you can and can’t use the music for. For most uses required by a health and wellness professional, eg during client consultation and background music on meditation CDs, the standard license will more than cover your requirements. However, there will be some uses that are not allowed, eg streaming the music on your website for purchase by clients. Always check before you purchase.
Please remember, whilst every effort has been made to give you the correct information in this post, it is ultimately your responsibility to understand the legalities of playing music and obtaining the correct licenses.
* As an affiliate I will receive a commission from any purchases made via this link.