Background on Music Licensing for Fitness Centers
Over the past 4 years, the popularity of personal music streaming services has skyrocketed. According to Musically, the number of users paying for streaming services at the end of 2018 totaled 255m, a 31% increase from the end of 2017.
However, as the popularity of streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify, and Pandora continue to grow, so will the legal battles between artists and these platforms concerning royalties and copyright infringements–especially when it comes to streaming from these platforms at a business.
Unfortunately, many fitness businesses that play music in their gym or studio aren’t aware of the legal implications behind streaming from personal plans. In fact, violations to copyright infringement can hold you liable for damages up to $150k per song played. While it’s unlikely one will receive a copyright lawsuit in the next week, it’s important to understand the legality behind streaming music in public places.
The Issues with Streaming Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music
Before diving in to alternatives to these popular streaming platforms, let’s take a quick step back and uncover why gyms and fitness centers can’t use Spotify, Pandora, or Apple Music to play music.
The U.S. has copyright laws that prohibit the use of personal streaming in public places. Downloading music is essentially purchasing a license for use in a non-commercial setting, and playing at a business would make it a public performance, which requires a Public Performance License (PPL).
Streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora aren’t a viable way for gyms and studios to play music because these apps are licensed for private use, and to play music in a public establishment you’re required to have a PPL. Furthermore, while apps like those mentioned above may offer business accounts, their fine print reveals that even these specific accounts don’t cover music broadcasting at fitness centers. Acquiring a PPL on your own is time consuming and costly, which is why many gyms and studios opt to use a service that has this covered. Here are a few streaming services built specifically for gym, box, and studio use.
Best Music Streaming Services for Fitness Gyms
Fit Radio is referred to as the “Number 1 Workout Music App Worldwide.” Their app pricing starts at $27.99 per quarter or $99.99 per year. They add that their app brings an “addictive kind of fun” to workouts by featuring curated, cutting edge DJ mixes in more than 40 music genres.
CloudCover advertises their service as “Music That Matches Your Business Goals” and offer three plans. They offer 14-day free trial that does not require a credit card. All plans include PPLs to all artists within ASCAP, BMI, GMR, SOCAN, RESOUND, and SOCAN organizations.
Their entry-level Music Plan is $16.16 per month and gives you access to stream curated playlists throughout your establishment.
Their second plan “Manage” is $20.61 per month and gives you the ability to monitor multiple locations, more access and permission levels, plus support and implementation. Their top plan, “Messaging”, adds the functionality to deliver in-store promotions and messaging.
Soundtrack is licensed for business in the fitness industry and includes fees in U.S. & Canada. Their platform allows business operators to browse hundreds of ready-made soundtracks filtered by genre, sound, artist, or business type.
Browse hundreds of ready-made soundtracks by picking any genre, sound or business type as your starting point, or create your own custom soundtracks. Plans start at $32 per month.
Rockbot is a licensed background music solution that enables gym owners to engage members, customize their soundtrack and eliminate music complaints. Pricing starts at $24.95 per month and ranges to their enterprise package which requires you contact them for pricing.
They advertise that “with 16 million songs and hundreds of playlists, if we don’t have a genre that’s perfect for your business, we will create one just for you.”
With Jukeboxy, businesses have access to an extensive music library; professionally curated soundtracks and smart tools to achieve great music. The platform also offers the ability to upload audio messages to be played between songs.
Gym and studio operators can choose schedules and manage many components within the app, including music streaming, scheduling, and in-store messaging. They advertise that they have 25 million songs in their library, and businesses can try the platform free for 14 days. Pricing starts at $29.99 per month.
For businesses that need licensed on-premise music to complete their unique customer experience, Custom Channels offers three different plans. All Access grants gyms and fitness centers access to thousands of playlists, to set it and forget it. This plan costs $35 per month.
Remix offers operators the ability to create their own playlists and schedule them for specific days and times. This plan is $40 per month.
Ethos is Custom Channels’ Enterprise solution, offering a team that takes a deep dive into your customers, brand, and more to create your own streaming channel. This plan is $500 per month.
With Sound Machine, businesses can easily choose from over 300 stations across all musical genres and styles. Create your own station by importing playlists from services like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon music, and more.
Schedule your mix or station to create the desired mood throughout the day, and incorporate your own promotional messages to play at exact times or precise intervals. Link an unlimited number of users to your account and manage their music and messages. Pricing starts at $26.95 per month.
From cardio and powerlifting to weight training, Gym Radio offers the right music for any type of workout, and allows operators to filter across explicit and non-explicit versions of music. Their playlists are updated daily.
GYM Radio is currently available in the EU, and plans to expand to the US and Canada in 2020.
Whether you’re a studio or gym examining options for streaming music, ensure that you utilize a service that can help you legally navigate the tricky U.S. copyright laws (because, technically, copyright infringement can hold you liable for damages up to $150k per song played!)
The services listed above will allow you to lawfully use music to cultivate an environment that fits the personality of your brand.