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Hotels, Motels, and other Lodging Establishments

BMI Makes It Simple to License the Music Used in Hotels, Motels and Other Lodging Establishments

Music adds to the overall ambiance in hotels and other lodging establishments and enhances the customer experience by making your guests feel welcome. However, playing music in common spaces—whether it’s live or in the background— requires permission from the copyright owner. A BMI music license gives you the necessary copyright permission to play over 22.4 million songs and ensures that music creators are fairly compensated for their work. 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, contact BMI to see if you qualify for a chain license.)

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.
  • Convenience
    • Pay your bill online securely and easily.
    • Schedule your payments by choosing the billing plan that is right for your business. You can also opt for automated payments.

“BMI has been an important partner to the American Hotel & Lodging Association and our industry for many years. They have helped many hotels navigate the music licensing process, and even offer a discount for AHLA members. Because of this, hotels can offer access to high-quality music at an affordable rate. We value our partnership with them and their commitment to our members.”

Chip Rogers President & CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association
Common Music Licensing Questions for Lodging Establishments

Have questions about music licensing in hotels, motels or other lodging establishments? Please review the FAQ’s below. If you have additional questions, please review our full list of Licensing FAQs or contact a BMI representative.

Under federal copyright law, if copyrighted music is performed in public or common areas, regardless of whether it’s performed by a live band, recorded music, DJ, karaoke, or a jukebox, the business must obtain permission from the copyright owner. In most cases, that permission comes in the form of a music license. A BMI music license gives you copyright permission to publicly play over 22.4 million musical works from BMI’s award-winning repertoire however you like. If you are using a Commercial Music Service (CMS), it only covers background music, limiting the many ways your establishment can use music to enhance the overall customer experience. Here is a list of common uses of music in the public areas of the hotel (not including guest rooms) that would require a public performance license:

  • Live music (bands, soloists, etc).
  • DJs.
  • Karaoke
  • Recorded background music:
    • Streaming music service.
    • MP3 player
    • CDs.
    • TVs in public areas (not including guest rooms).
    • Free play jukebox.
  • Music in fitness center (including TVs/monitors on fitness equipment).

In short, any area open to the public. For example- lobbies, restaurants, bars/lounges, casinos, fitness centers, pool areas, shops, hallways. Examples of non-public areas include guest rooms, meeting rooms rented/leased by a 3rd party, ballrooms rented/leased by a 3rd party for special events, and convention halls rented/leased by a 3rd party for conventions.

Yes, if the restaurant or bar is owned or operated by the hotel. If the restaurant or bar are owned or operated independently, then a separate license would be required and would not be the hotel’s responsibility.

Yes, if TVs are present in public areas of the hotel (not including guest rooms) and any of the following apply:

  • Two or more TVs in any one common area (examples: Lobby, fitness center, bar or restaurant)
  • If any of the TVs are greater than 55 inches.
  • There are more than four TVs in total combined.

Any expenditure (including payment or any value of room and board) made by the hotel for any live music and entertainment. Live music and entertainment would include:

  • Live musicians and any shows or acts such as DJs, video jockeys, karaoke hosts, master of ceremonies and comedians.

Any required payment or minimum required purchase to enter or remain in any public area of the hotel. This would not include payment for a guest room stay.

Yes. A music license with another performing right organization allows you to perform only copyrighted music represented by that organization. It does not cover 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.

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 has the necessary permission to publicly perform BMI music.

There is a one percent AH&LA member discount for each hotel, motel, or resort which is a member in good standing of the American Hotel & Lodging Association and its member state associations, provided its BMI account is current.

BMI is happy to make speakers available for presentations to your state association by contacting us at (888) 689-5264 (toll free).