Two ways to do the right thing…

Published 01/17/2014

By Jennifer Brown

If you’re a businessperson, there’s a good chance you already know that background music is valuable to your business.

Music brings people into your store, restaurant, bar, club, or similar establishment. Music can be targeted towards your customers to immediately make them feel welcome. Music can influence them to linger longer, and purchase more of your goods or services. Music can lead them to find greater enjoyment in the consumer experience of your business. If you’d like to see how music has actually improved sales and staff morale for businesses like yours, visit the MusicWorks website.

If you’re using music in your business, there are a couple of easy ways for you to get your SOCAN licence for background music.

If you love making playlists, or want to bring your specific taste in music into your business space, you can play your CDs, iPod, radio, internet radio station or television. If you choose this approach, you simply provide a modest amount, once a year, based on the size of your establishment. It’s easy to do, and you can report and pay online  (scroll down to Tariff 15A, “Background Music”).

SOCAN then ensures that those who wrote, published, or otherwise own the performing rights to the music are compensated fairly for their work. Just like the businesses that play their music, songwriters are working to make a fair living from their talent.

Or if you prefer, you can put the music selection and licensing in the hands of a background music provider. These services will customize playlists for you based on who your customers are and the “feel” you want in your business space.

Many background music providers can even determine different playlists for different times of the day, or for different physical areas of your business, to maximize customer satisfaction throughout. They can provide you with different subscription options based on your needs. Through your subscription, your SOCAN license is included, and we work with them to make things easy and smooth. For more information, click here and scroll down to Tariff 16: Background Music Suppliers.

In Canada, SOCAN represents the rights of songwriters, composers and music publishers, whereas an organization called Re:Sound represents the rights of music performers (the musicians who play on the song) and record companies (the businesses that make and distribute the recordings). A Re:Sound license is also included in your subscription to these background music services, further extending their value as a “one-stop shop.”

Whether using a subscription-based service or your own playlists and equipment, you’ll be providing fair, legal and ethical compensation – and a living – to the songwriters, composers and music publishers who create the music that enhances and adds value to your business.

If you’re using music, it’s just the right thing to do.

About Jennifer Brown

Jennifer Brown heads up the Licensing department at SOCAN, which is responsible for collecting royalties from businesses that use music in broadcasts, streams, concerts and in their establishments. Jenn is an avid music fan and has a recurring New Year’s resolution to finally learn to play a musical instrument.


  1. AndrewB

    Love the simplicity of this explanation. Music is an essential ingredient in many businesses’ recipe for success. Just like food ingredients, those who grow, make and supply the food should be fairly compensated, so that they can continue to grow, make and supply quality ingredients that customers enjoy.


    how to get my music licensed for movie,TV and other projects

    1. Howard Druckman

      We can help you with that question! Please call our SOCAN Info Centre at 1-866-307–6226, or e-mail and we’ll be glad to assist you.


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