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Is it legal to play Spotify in a business?

Published on | Updated on | 8 min reading time
Is it legal to play Spotify in a business?

Holding a degree in Business Administration and Programming, Pablo established Legis Music in 2016. With a focus on the royalty-free music industry, he has contributed extensively to the field, authoring over 150 articles on various aspects of music licensing. His efforts have been instrumental in developing one of the most straightforward and liberal music licensing frameworks available today.

Key Takeaways

  • Playing music in a commercial setting constitutes a public performance, requiring proper authorization from copyright holders. This involves obtaining licenses that cover rights of reproduction, distribution, public performance, and creation of derivative works.
  • Businesses need to obtain specific licenses for legal music playback. This includes public performance licenses from organizations like ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC in the United States.
  • Spotify offers a business-specific solution, allowing legal use of its platform in commercial settings. This comes with specific fees and conditions and helps businesses to avoid legal issues.
  • There are alternatives to Spotify for Business, such as Soundtrack Your Brand and CloudCover Music , which provide legally compliant music services tailored for commercial use.
  • Businesses can create their own music playlists if they obtain the necessary licenses for each song, allowing more control over their music choice.

Music plays a critical role in the customer experience in retail environments.

From restaurants and stores to gyms and offices, the choice of music can influence the mood of visitors and their perception of the brand.

The right music can create a welcoming, relaxing or exciting atmosphere, which in turn can increase customer dwell time and ultimately drive sales.

Thus, many people choose to play music directly from Spotify, one of the most popular music streaming services worldwide.

Its extensive library of songs and ease of use make it attractive to both individual users and businesses that want to leverage music as a tool to engage customers and enhance the experience.

However, the use of Spotify in a commercial environment raises important questions about its legality.

In this article, we will explore in detail whether it is legal to play Spotify in a business and what considerations should be taken into account when using this platform in a commercial environment.

In addition, we will discuss the legal implications and legal alternatives available to business owners who wish to use music properly and legally.

Copyright is an essential component in the regulation of music in the commercial environment.

Music creators have exclusive rights to their compositions, which means that they have control over how their music is used and can grant or deny permission for its reproduction in various contexts.

Copyrights include rights of reproduction, distribution, public performance and creation of derivative works.

When music is played in public in a business, a ”public performance” of those musical works is taking place.

To do so legally, it is necessary to obtain proper authorization from copyright holders such as composers and performers.

This usually involves obtaining licenses from copyright management organizations or direct agreements with the rights holders themselves.

Public music and required licenses

Public performance of music in a business can encompass a variety of situations, from playing songs in a retail store to background music in a restaurant to live music in a bar.

To ensure legal compliance, it is important to know what licenses are required.

Some types of licenses that may be relevant include:

  • Mechanical copyright licenses: These licenses allow the reproduction of song recordings on physical or digital media, such as CD, vinyl or online streaming. However, these licenses do not cover public performance in a business.
  • Public performance licenses: These licenses authorize the reproduction of music in public. For example, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC are organizations that license music for public performance in the United States. Business owners can obtain licenses from these organizations to ensure they are in compliance with copyright.
  • Synchronization licenses: These licenses are required if you want to use music in combination with visual content, such as promotional videos or commercials.

The main point here is that, in order to use music in public in a business in a legal manner, it is essential to ensure that the proper licenses are in place to avoid legal problems related to copyright.

Failure to comply with these regulations can result in substantial fines and legal penalties.

Business use of Spotify

Spotify Terms of Use

Spotify is an extremely popular music streaming platform, used by both individuals and businesses to access a wide variety of songs.

However, it is important to note that Spotify’s terms of use are designed primarily for personal use, and use of the platform in commercial settings raises significant questions.

Spotify’s terms of use explicitly prohibit use of the platform in public or commercial venues, unless a specific Spotify for Business license is in place.

This means that if a business wants to use Spotify legally, it must purchase a Spotify license that allows playback in a commercial environment.

Failure to comply with these terms of use could result in account suspension or even legal action by Spotify.

Spotify for Business

Spotify for Business is an option offered by Spotify that allows businesses to use its platform to play music legally in commercial establishments.

This solution provides an extensive library of songs, customized playlists and controls to adjust the music according to business preferences.

However, it is subject to specific fees and conditions.

By opting for Spotify for Business, businesses can comply with Spotify’s terms of use and reduce the risk of legal issues related to playing music in public.

In addition, Spotify for Business can be a valuable tool for creating a music experience tailored to business branding and customer preferences.

It is important for business owners who wish to use Spotify in their business premises to understand the terms of use and consider the options available to ensure they are using the platform legally and appropriately in their business environments.

Licensed business music services

In addition to Spotify for Business, there are other legal alternatives for playing music in commercial environments.

These licensed business music services are specifically designed to comply with copyright regulations and offer customized options for business needs.

Some of these services include:

  • Soundtrack Your Brand: This service offers background music designed specifically for businesses and provides licensing for copyright compliance. It also allows business owners to customize playlists and adjust music according to brand and desired atmosphere.
  • CloudCover Music: Offers customized music solutions for businesses, including public performance licensing and an extensive song library. It also focuses on creating music experiences that align with brand identity.

Considerations for creating your own playlists

Another alternative is to create your own playlists for business use, provided you obtain the necessary licenses for each song.

This option allows for greater control over the musical selection and atmosphere of the establishment.

However, it is important to ensure that each track used is properly licensed.

By creating their own playlists, business owners can tailor the music to their brand and customer preferences.

Choosing the right alternative will depend on the needs and budget of each business.

How to obtain the necessary licenses

  1. Research licensing options: Research the options available for obtaining the necessary licenses. You can explore copyright management organizations such as ASCAP , BMI , and SESAC , which offer public performance licenses. Also, if you choose a licensed music-in-business platform, such as Soundtrack Your Brand or CloudCover Music, make sure you understand the details of their licensing offerings.
  2. Stay up to date on fees: Licensing rates can vary based on factors such as the size of your business, location, and the amount of music you plan to play. Stay informed on current rates and be sure to budget accordingly.
  3. Get legal advice if necessary: If you have questions about the licensing process or the legal implications of playing music in your business, consider seeking legal advice. An intellectual property attorney can provide valuable guidance.
  • Inform your staff: Make sure your staff is aware of the regulations related to playing music in your business. Train your employees to comply with the proper policies and licenses.
  • Keep accurate records: Keep detailed records of the licenses you have purchased and the music played in your business. This can be useful in case of audits or legal disputes.
  • Update your licenses as needed: If you change the size or scope of your business, make sure your licenses are updated to reflect these changes.
  • Explore other music options: If Spotify for Business or similar services don’t fit your budget, consider creating playlists of your own and obtaining the necessary licenses for individual songs. This will give you more control over the music played in your business.

Estos consejos le ayudarán a asegurarse de que respeta los derechos de los creadores musicales y protege los intereses de su empresa.


Playing music in a business is a common practice to create a pleasant atmosphere and attract customers.

However, it is crucial to be aware of the legal implications associated with using music in public.

In this article we have highlighted that the legality of playing Spotify in a business depends on obtaining the proper licenses and complying with copyright regulations.

Copyright regulations are critical to protecting the interests of music creators, and failure to comply with these regulations can result in serious legal consequences.

To ensure legal compliance, business owners may choose to obtain licenses from copyright management organizations, consider licensed business music services, or create their own playlists with the appropriate licenses.

Ultimately,** it is the responsibility of business owners to know and abide by copyright regulations** to avoid legal problems and protect the reputation of their business.

Music can still be a powerful tool to enhance the customer experience in a business environment, as long as it is used legally and ethically.


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