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    1 Reply Latest reply on Mar 19, 2008 3:46 PM by Lighthouse24

    Anyone familiar with ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC licensing?

    poloi3eai2 Wayfarer
      I'm starting a music programming business to provide music to retail establishments. I'm trying to get an estimate of how much BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC fees are for a normal small retail store. Any small retail store owners here willing to share your experiences with BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC. I've read that if you're a restaurant or retail establishment you can play the radio or TV without have to pay fees if you're under 2000 sq feet. But I'm handing picking the music for retail stores custom fit for their customers. I've talked to some club owners and some of them dont pay any licensing fee's at all and some pay alot.
        • Re: Anyone familiar with ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC licensing?
          Lighthouse24 Ranger

          Is your business similar to these?

          If so, then you must apply for a blanket license with each of the performing rights agencies (BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC -- although since SESAC's catalog is much smaller and is mainly country and gospel music, some music programmers simply choose to exclude artists/selections that are licensed through SESAC from their playlists, and go with BMI and ASCAP music only.)

          Each agency has literally hundreds of different fee structures, which is why some club owners pay a little, and some pay a lot -- dozens of factors figure in (owners that don't pay anything are taking a huge risk unless, as you noted, they're simply playing the radio or TV which is okay for restaurants under 3,750 sf and retailers under 2,000 sf). You really have to contact each agency directly and speak to a representative about what you're doing to get a an idea of the cost.

          I'm sure you wouldn't do this since you're asking the right questions, but don't try to launch or promote your music programming business without obtaining the proper blanket licenses. It is illegal and expensive (the statutory damages are $500 to $20,000 per song that is used without permission, and if the court determines that you willfully violated the law, it can increase to $100,000) -- plus your competitors who did pay the blanket license fees will report you in a heartbeat.

          Hope this helps. Best wishes.