In a thorough and thought-provoking news story recently aired on WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina, reporter Kelcey Carlson examined the issue of music licensing, and the role it plays for local bars and restaurants. Originally drawn to the story by fines levied by a federal judge against an area restaurant for operating without a music license for more than two years, Carlson delved further into the issue to reveal the extraordinary measures taken by BMI to educate the proprietor on the need and reasons for a music license.
Those measures included 56 phone calls, 29 letters and two personal visits by BMI representatives to explain copyright laws and the dangers of infringement. When the owner of the establishment refused to cooperate, he left BMI with no other option but legal recourse to protect the rights of the songwriters BMI represents.
“BMI licenses more than 600,000 businesses across the country, including more than 3,000 in North Carolina and more than 500 in the Raleigh-Durham area,” said Robbin Ahrold, BMI’s Vice President of Corporate Communications and Marketing. “Very few of them ever get to the point where we have to file a court action to protect the copyrights of our songwriters. But we do have a serious obligation to the songwriters who entrust us with their compositions — as well as to all the business owners across the country that recognize the value of music and meet their responsibility to get a license. On both sides, it is a matter of fairness.”
Robert Royster, owner of Ruckus Pizza and Pasta in Cary, NC, agrees.
“It is very important to us to have the right music, because of the atmosphere,” Royster told WRAL. “There are expenses that go along with that. It’s a part of doing business, like food costs or rent.”
For more information, and frequently asked questions about music licensing for bars and restaurants, please visit the music licensing section of bmi.com. To view the entire story, please visit wral.com