Music Licensing for Gyms: Here’s What You Should Know

Music Licensing for Gyms: Here’s What You Should Know

Whether it’s a shop, a restaurant or a fitness centre, how your venue sounds matters. Why? Because music, as one of the most valuable atmospheric variables, has the ability to:

  • Reinforce your brand image and core personality (is your brand sincere? Competent? Exciting? You can show it through your in-store music choice);
  • Enhance positive in-store experiences — making people feel welcome and taken care of;
  • Connect with customers’ emotions — music can influence behaviour like encouraging additional purchases.

In the case of a health club, gym, or yoga studio, we can also talk about music as an external motivator and its therapeutic effects like post-exercise recovery — CX benefits that we will touch upon in this article.

Additionally — and perhaps more on the business side — we will explain the practical matters of providing in-store music to your customers:

    Why you need a background music licence to offer your customers good quality music for their workouts;

    “What music can I play without a licence?”, “How much is a music licence”, and other issues related to legally playing music in your fitness centre.

If you work in the fitness industry and want to learn about the essential aspects of music licensing for gyms, stick with us until the end of this post!

How Background Music Enhances Fitness

Renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks, who studied the impact of music on the human mind, explained how music engages several parts of the brain. Rhythm, for example, activates areas of the motor cortex that are important in synchronising and energising movement — which is highly beneficial for both professional athletes and casual gym goers. Also, the feelings we have while listening to music activate the cerebellum — which, among other things, is responsible for maintaining balance.

Music is like a complete workout for the brain!

Regarding music as recovery, a small 2007 study on the effects of relaxing music towards exercise-induced fatigue, by the Chinese Department of Human Sports Science, had some astonishing results. People who listened to soothing music (60-80 BPM) had a better and faster cardiovascular, muscular, and psychological recovery than those who relaxed in complete silence. Moreover, it even improved the kidneys’ regulatory function.

It is also important to note that music can be a double-edged sword. Specifically, as Oliver Sacks mentioned, sound can be extremely torturous. It's a case of musical "brainworms" that get stuck in your head and loud public music that causes sensory overload or hearing loss. So, all gym owners, take note: don't turn up the volume to the max!

Do Gyms Need a Background Music Licence?

Whether you use music for choreographies in cardio classes or simply provide empowering background music for your clients, you need to be careful about how you do it to avoid copyright issues.

How to Cover Music Licensing for Gyms

Since playing music in a commercial environment counts as a public performance, you must sign a contract with a music licensing society. By paying an annual fee, the music creators get their share of the profit.

In Australia, the organisations that cover the royalties for the music creators are:

  • APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association);
  • PPCA (Phonographic Performance Company of Australia).

Additionally, businesses should pay yearly duplication fees to AMCOS (Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society) to copy music onto a device like an mp3 player.

Playing in-store music can be quite a laborious endeavour with all of these organisations you need to address. Luckily, the legal procedure is a bit simpler nowadays.

For one, thanks to One Music Australia, an organisation that brought together APRA, AMCOS and PPCA, you may get a public performance licence in fewer steps.

Secondly, you can also collaborate with an independent music provider like Storeplay Radio, who not only acts as an intermediary between businesses and performing rights organisations but goes the extra mile of curating the right sound for your brand.

How Much Is a Music Licence?

Each music licensing society offers different packages of music for commercial use. They depend on the amount of music required, its purpose, and venue surface — among other criteria.

For example, PPCA offers a linear non-interactive streaming service, which means that users are not able to further personalise the tracklists. They are not able to create custom playlists, pause the music, insert their own ads or exclude the songs that don’t fit their brand.

If your business requires more flexibility, then a better option would be working with an independent in-store music provider like Storeplay Radio. Essentially, we obtain the One Music licence or partial licence according to your brand and needs. The pricing starts at only $40 per month and you can download and schedule your desired tracks. There is a vast collection of in-store music waiting for you, and we constantly update it.

What Music Can I Play Without a Licence?

If you prefer to look for royalty-free workout music for your gym members, there are a few options that will allow you to play music legally.

For one, you may reach out to the artist to ask for their written permission. The downside — apart from having to discuss with several artists in order to create a diverse playlist — is that they are usually not the only ones who hold the rights to their compositions.

The second option (more reliable) is to explore royalty-free music websites like Incompetech or Audionautix. You would have to do some digging, but eventually, you could come up with a decent playlist of royalty-free workout music.

Alternatively, if you want to avoid all the hassle, Storeplay Radio can provide plenty of licence-free songs, meaning that no One Music licence is required to play effective and good quality music at your gym.

Penalties for Playing Music Illegally in Fitness Businesses

Any responsible fitness centre should take the necessary steps to ensure that they are playing music legally in their work environment. But plenty of managers or personal trainers don’t realise that individual streaming services like Spotify, YouTube or Google Play are only suitable for private use — as specified in the terms of the agreement (which people rarely read). The same is true for playing physical discs and listening to the radio in a public setting.

The sanctions for playing music illegally should not be taken lightly. They vary from $60,500 for individual business owners and $302,500 for corporations. Additionally, the police can issue on-the-spot fines of $1320 and confiscate any devices used to play the music.

Another problem you need to avoid is that the streaming company can seek damages for infringing its terms and conditions.

We understand how complicated copyright law can be. That is why we created Storeplay Radio: to make it as simple as possible for businesses to broadcast effective background music legally. At the same time, the artists whose music we enjoy at work are being recognised.

Music Licensing for Gyms Is Never an Issue with Storeplay Radio

The reason we need to obtain music licensing for gyms is that playing in-store music counts as a public performance — this holds true everywhere in the world, not just in Australia. In order to not put your business at risk through copyright infringement, you need a licence to play background music.

We hope this quick guide can come in handy to better understand the issues behind music licensing for gyms and other commercial spaces.

StorePlay can help you avoid all the legal hassle so that you can focus on your mission of helping people become their strongest selves. It’s a win-win for customers who get more out of their workout and become your biggest fans, as well as the artists who get a fair share of the profit for their creative work.

Check out our various channels with several licensing models to get a glimpse of our carefully curated music collection. Get in touch whenever you want to discuss the perfect music package for your business.