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Music Licensing FAQs for Businesses
What constitutes a public performance?
What constitutes a public performance?
Chloe Dennet avatar
Written by Chloe Dennet
Updated over a week ago

Generally speaking, whenever music is played in a business setting it is considered a "public performance", irrespective of whether the music is recorded or performed live. Streams, broadcasts, transmissions, retransmissions and any other forms of playing recorded music, as well as live performances, are all considered public performances under Copyright Law.

From a legal perspective, under section § 106 of the U.S. Copyright Act, a "public performance" is defined as the performance of music "at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of family and its social acquaintances is gathered". A public performance is deemed to have occurred regardless of whether or not the business or event location of the public performance is open to the public.

You can review a list of common music uses that require a performance license here.

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