Music Licensing for Bars, Restaurants, Breweries, Wineries and other Eating and Drinking Establishments
BMI Makes It Simple to Use Music in Your Bar, Restaurant or Brewery
A BMI music license gives you copyright permission to play over 20.6 million songs in BMI’s
award-winning repertoire. Here’s how you can get started:
Call (888) 689-5264 to get
a license over the phone.
Fill out our Online Form and a BMI Representative will get back to you with more information.
License and Report Form
For multiple locations, visit the Franchise Page.
Music Matters in Bars & Restaurants
Music adds value to your business and creates the ambiance that keeps customers coming back. According to a study by BMI and leading market research group Leger, consumers eat, drink and spend more when live music is playing.1
So, regardless of whether music is performed by a live band, DJ, karaoke, jukebox or other recorded use such as streaming, radio, CD or TV, permission must be granted from the copyright owner. This is where BMI can help.
BMI’s Music License Saves You Time & Money
- SAVE TIME & MONEY A BMI license saves you the time and expense of contacting each songwriter or composer for permission to play their music publicly.
- 10% Timely Payment Discount if you return your payment within 30 days.
- FLEXIBILITY Pay only for the music you play, whether it’s seasonal or every night of the week.
- SIMPLICITY Eliminates complex reporting and allows you to make music use changes online or over the phone.
- Pay your bill online securely and easily.
- Schedule your payments by choosing the billing plan that is right for your business, and you can also opt for automated payments.
Exclusive Association Discounts
- Yearly 5% discount just for being a member of a participating association.
- Yearly 5% discount for all association members who pay their BMI licensing fees via phone or online.
Not a member of a participating association? Learn more about the Association Discount Program for bars, restaurants, breweries and other eating and drinking establishments.
Most frequently asked questions for Bars, Restaurants and Breweries
See below for the most common questions about music licensing in eating and drinking establishments.
If you have additional questions, please review our full list of Licensing FAQs or contact a BMI representative.
Q: If musicians, DJs and entertainers are performing, are they responsible for obtaining the necessary music licenses for their public performance?
No. Since it’s the business or organization that is authorizing the performance of music, BMI offers a license to the owner of the establishment to ensure that the business or organization is properly licensed.
The term “original music” generally means musical works written by the performing musicians. With over 20.6 million musical works from more than 1.3 million songwriters, composers and music publishers in BMI’s repertoire, it is very likely that at least some of the original music that you’re using is represented by BMI. BMI fosters the development of up-and-coming songwriters, many of whom perform in businesses like yours, by ensuring that they are paid when their music is played publicly. Performing songwriters have access to our BMI Live program which allows them to submit their setlists from live performances at BMI-licensed venues to be considered for payment. In addition, many times these performers are asked to play a song known by the general public that was written by someone else, like a cover song. Those types of performances also require permission.
Q: If a business has a license with another performing rights organization (PRO), do they still need to license with BMI?
Yes. If that business wants to play any BMI music. A music license with another performing rights organization only allows you to perform copyrighted music represented by that organization. It will not cover the public performances of the award-winning music licensed by BMI. This is because each songwriter or composer may belong to only one performing right organization at any given time, so each PRO licenses a unique repertoire of music.
A BMI music license can cost as little as $378 per year – a little more than a dollar per day- depending on the size of the establishment, the type of music being played (recorded, live, DJ, karaoke, etc.), and how often music is performed (once a week, once a month, etc.). A venue’s occupancy rate also factors into the cost of a license and is determined by an outside third party, such as occupancy posted by a local fire department.
Q: If I have TVs or play radio stations in my business, do I still need a BMI license? Aren’t TV, cable, and radio stations already licensed with BMI?
Yes, but those agreements do not authorize the performance of TV, cable and radio to the public by businesses and other organizations. However, there are certain exemptions provided by copyright law, including the size of your establishment, how many TVs you have in each room, their screen size, how many speakers you have and if you charge a cover charge. Contact a BMI Representative to learn if these uses need to be licensed for your business.
Q: Our business plays music from a playlist on Spotify, Pandora or Apple Music. Isn’t this our property to play anywhere?
Although your digital music subscription gives you access to an enormous catalog of music, it does not provide the necessary copyright clearance to play those songs in a public setting. Once you decide to play as part of your business any copyrighted music publicly, you need permission from the copyright owners.
Q: We only play live music in the summer months or seasonally. Do we still have to pay for live music year-round?
The BMI Eating and Drinking Establishment license is flexible by offering you the ability to change your licensing fee up to three times per calendar year. If your music use has recently changed, please contact a BMI Representative at (800) 925-8451 to discuss your account.
Your licensing fee goes to BMI’s affiliated songwriters, composers and music publishers in the form of royalties. Your payment supports the continued creation of music, which enhances the overall experience for your customers.
1A survey of 2,244 Americans was completed online between May 17-24, 2016. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-2.1%, 19 times out of 20.