Playing it Right


What impression do you give your guests?

By Dan Spears

In today’s world, it would be unusual to go to a gym, store, restaurant, bar or hotel/motel and not hear music playing. Something would be missing from the scene. And that silence could be the difference between customers who feel welcomed and those who do not. That’s because music makes businesses feel more vibrant and helps customers feel like they are part of an exciting experience. Are you fulfilling that important need for your guests?

A study conducted by BMI and Leger, The Research Intelligence Group, showed that out of more than 2,200 Americans surveyed, 93 percent said that the right song has the power to change their mood or make their day, and 87 percent consider music to be an important part of their daily routine. Other findings show that 80 percent of customers will stay longer in a bar or restaurant if there is live music, while 70 percent will spend more on food and drinks.

In addition, according to a 2018 Forbes article ranking the best hotels and resorts of the year, two in the top 12 list have live music in their restaurants and bars. These properties understand that it’s a great way to connect with their customers, because music brings people together.

Adhering to Copyright Laws

This is all great news for songwriters and composers who work very hard to create music people want to listen to. And they’ve most likely spent years working on their songwriting skills to achieve that goal. But not all business owners understand that music licensing fees are what keep songwriters in the business of writing songs.

That’s why Congress (not performing rights organizations) enacted copyright laws, because public performance royalties are essential when it comes to keeping the music playing for all of us, consumers and businesses alike. BMI’s role (which is referenced in the law) is to provide a cost-effective and convenient license that grants businesses blanket permission to play any of the 14 million musical works in BMI’s award-winning repertoire. These licenses save businesses the time and expense of having to find, and directly negotiate with, songwriters and composers for permission to use their music.

It’s also important to note that many of these songwriters and composers are not the artists performing the music, making the need to receive their royalties that much more important to their livelihood. When a business pays licensing fees to BMI, they are in essence fueling the creative process, as 90 cents of every dollar BMI collects from venues that use music is paid out to songwriters and publishers in the form of royalties.

Today’s hotels and motels need to be more than just a place for guests to stay for a night or two – and music can help your properties become more of a destination in a very competitive marketplace. Whether it’s in your lobby, fitness room or your lounges, music is undoubtedly always better than silence, because it sets the mood for your business. When looking at it that way, licensing fees are really an investment in your hotel or motel that lets you make a good first impression that will last.

Dan Spears is the vice president of industry relations and licensing at BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) where he works closely with BMIs licensing management team to create strategic, value-driven sponsorships and customer events. Spears develops customer initiatives and strategic partnerships that feature BMI songwriters and helps to educate key accounts while providing new sources of revenue for affiliates and licensees. He also remains instrumental to BMIs close work with the National Association of Broadcasters, the National Restaurant Association, Media Financial Management Association, the Idea Bank, and the National Association of Licensing Compliance Professionals.


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