When to get permission

If you perform music in public, or play recorded music in public, such as at a club; restaurant; concert; on the radio; or streaming on the web; you might need to obtain a public performance license. Small indie artists and DJs performing at private events often do not need to secure a public performance rights because they are covered by the venue. However, this is something performers should confirm with the venue, and with the public performance rights agencies listed below. K12 educators typically do not need to obtain rights for school performances, however this can depend on the type of performance and is something educators should confirm with the public performance rights agencies. Church leaders should contact the agencies below, and CCLI.com, an organization that caters especially to churches for various licensing needs, including public performance. Licenses should be secured before the music is used.

How the royalties are paid

Business owners in the United States should contact the three rights agencies that handle all public performance licensing in the U.S., ASCAP.com, BMI.com, and SESAC.com, to inquire about licensing for their venues. Expect to report your playlists to these agencies, and share a small percentage of your revenues for royalties, which the agencies then distribute to the copyright holders.

How to get permission

To obtain a public performance license in the United States, please contact these agencies: ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.

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