Licensing Music For Your Events: Paying The Fiddler

4 Flares 4 Flares ×

The question of playing music at events came up in a social media discussion recently. The question was if event hosts realize that they had to pay a licensing fee to play music at their workshops and seminars.

music license for eventsMusic is incredibly important in setting the tone for your event. It creates a mood and you can influence the emotions that will help your attendees learn. Music should be a vital part of your workshops and seminars. However, it is important that you do this legally and ethically.

I think most event hosts are completely clueless they are required to pay a licensing fee.

However, if you have a professional event planner, they should either carry a license or use vendors that do. Either way, you should investigate.

It is always your responsibility to have the proper paperwork and permissions in place. Ignorance is not an excuse for breaking the law.

Chances are that no one will ever know if you do not have a license. However, you do not want other seminar leaders start teaching your material and making money of your hard work. Musicians and song writers also worked hard for their songs and deserve to get paid for their work.

Your AV Company

Your audiovisual company should definitely hold a license, because they spend a lot of time renting out equipment and playing music. If your audiovisual company just drops off the equipment and you are not hiring them to do your audio, then you should not depend on them for the license.


The easy way is to become an ASCAP and/or BMI licensee. It is a yearly fee and it is not expensive. It is based on how many attendees you have, with a minimum yearly fee. They have a ton of different licenses and there is a special license for Training and Development Sessions, Educational or Informational Seminars (ASCAP) and Meetings, Conventions, Trade Shows, and Expositions (BMI).

Each company probably has a catalog of about 4 million songs each. So if you only want to pay one license, I am sure you can find enough songs in that catalog. Just make sure that if you have an ASCAP license, that you don’t play BMI songs!

Royalty Free Music

If you do not want to get a license, another option is to use royalty free music. You can purchase CDs that you can use without paying a royalty for using the songs. Sometimes these are just short clips and obviously they are never the popular hit songs.

Probably not the music you want to use to get people fired up!

What is your favorite music to play at your seminars and how are you staying compliant?

4 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 LinkedIn 4 Google+ 0 4 Flares ×
Daphne Bousquet, CMP

Daphne Bousquet, CMP

For more strategies to make your workshops and seminars more profitable, you’ll want to pick up a copy of the free report "Three Simple Secrets To Making 10K In A Day With Small Workshops." Daphne Bousquet uses her 20+ years of event industry experience to create profitable event strategies and marketing for coaches, entrepreneurs, speakers and self employed professionals that want to grow their businesses with workshops and seminars. She is the creator of the Butts In Seats Virtual Boot Camp, a unique digital course that teaches you how to fill your events with your ideal audience.
Daphne Bousquet, CMP
Daphne Bousquet, CMP
Daphne Bousquet, CMP


  1. Hi Daphne,

    So happy to see a post on this issue — thanks!

    Musicians definitely need to get paid for their work. I’m pretty sure they’re not in the giveaway business. 🙂

    This is an absolutely critical issue and I’m betting some event hosts don’t even give it the time of day when planning their events. Through your expertise, their eyes will be opened!

    Awesome topic.
    Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur recently posted..Say Bye-Bye to the Challenge of Getting People to Attend Your Virtual Events

    • Daphne Bousquet, CMP says:

      As coaches and people who make money from our brain and the things we know, we should be extra sensitive about others who do the same. I know if someone took my intellectual property, I would be pretty ticked off. OK, that just might be the understatement of the year. 🙂

      We’d like to think that all musicians are millionaires, but nothing is further from the truth.

      Fortunately, I am sure most event hosts would agree with me. I just think they don’t know any better…

  2. Chris says:

    I really appreciate learning about this Daphne! I’ve attended events where the music is CRITICAL to getting people pumped up to learn and to get them back in the room to resume the fun. I wondered how you would go about being “safe” in playing music for an event.

    Thank you for keeping us safe out here! 🙂
    Chris recently posted..A fun dose of “money making” reality

    • Daphne Bousquet, CMP says:

      Glad to be able to keep you safe, Chris. (And to help keep food on the table of those starving artists/musicians.)

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge