WARNING: Streaming Services & Music Licensing: What You Need to Know

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Streaming Services

WARNING: Streaming Services & Music Licensing: What You Need to Know

When you play music in a shop, restaurant or hospitality area, where people might buy products or services, or have paid to spend time, you make commercial use of the music you bought (or streamed) privately, because you distribute it to a larger audience – your audience – in order to create a better environment or experience for your visitor, which helps your business.

The mechanical rights that you paid for your music, either purchased on physical or download, via  streaming services such as Spotify or Deezer, only cover your own private listening; they do not cover public usage.

Clarification on the use of streaming services such as Spotify or Deezer – the streaming service Spotify is NOT for commercial use as stipulated in their end user agreement: https://www.spotify.com/ca/legal/end-user-agreement/


  • Music played from Premium account access
  • Music played that you have paid for and legally downloaded from iTunes
  • Playing old CDs or vinyl, unless you “go public”, by getting licensed and reporting usage.


Making sure music writers and performers get paid for their work in creating new music and for performing on recordings, means it is necessary to maintain proper records for who holds the *mechanical rights.

This is an involved process, with music distributors (mainly Record Companies) extending only privatemechanical rights to their specific intended audience, which, as the purchaser, is just you.

*all recorded music used to be reproduced “mechanically”.

Therefore, playing or streaming music in a retail, restaurant or other public hospitality area is actually illegal, unless you:

1) Have a current appropriate licence with both the PRS and the PPL, and
2) Pay appropriate royalties to the artistes for the number of times you play their songs.

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