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Restaurants Gotta Pay to Play Music.

The Vibe! One of the key elements of a restaurant. Vibe is also known as ambiance. As a restaurateur you want to set a mood when a patron walks in. Your décor, lighting, smell, and of course the music are key element to the Vibe. Playing music does so much for a venue. As we established, music sets the mood.

So you may say “ I’ll use a streaming service that I pay for.” Stop right there! That’s not allowed. Streaming services are to be used for personal use only. Playing music that does not belong to you is an act of copyright infringement and may subject your restaurant to fines or a lawsuit.

Playing music for a public and/or paying audience is considered a public performance of that music. If a restaurant owner wants to play music in the establishment, a public performance license (PPL) must be obtained from a performance rights organization (PRO) that controls the rights to a particular song. (

There are some exceptions which are based on the size of the establishments. If your establishment is smaller than 3,767 square feet, you are exempt from obtaining a PPL as long as you do not charge customers to listen to music, and it's only transmitted from a radio, television, cable, or satellite source. This exemption does not cover online streaming music services, such as Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music. (

If you’d like to find out how to get a license to play music at you restaurant, please email me at

Entertain responsibly.

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