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The Shady Side Of In-Store Music – Digital Gabe
Digital Gabe
Cutting Edge Commentary On All Things Media

The Shady Side Of In-Store Music

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Do you ever wonder where the mom and pop stores you go into get the music they’re playing overhead?  As it turns out, more and more of this music is coming from subscription streaming services being played through the business owner’s (or store managers’) personal account.  This is tantamount to stealing music, because personal subscriptions do not extend into commercial uses of that music.  Now artists and labels are starting to pay attention to the problem of free ride listening in-store as a massive revenue loophole they need to close.

Just how big of a problem is in-store music free riding?  According to a recent Nielsen Music report, approximately 21M businesses worldwide use a streaming service for in-store music without paying the appropriate royalties.  The estimated annual revenue lost by the music industry is somewhere around $2.5-3B, which is about a quarter of all the money the global music industry takes in annually.  So we’re not talking chump change here!  Many larger retailers and restaurants do keep their in-store music above board through B2B agreements with Mood Music, Pandora For Business, etc..  But the average tanning salon or pizza place is most likely not paying for a service like this.

Granted, it will be incredibly hard for the music industry to enforce commercial licensing of every store who plays music illegally, but at least the issue is now on their radar screen.


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