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Music is an integral part of group fitness and can add to the already great experience provided by your studio location. Part of using music in group fitness classes is ensuring that you are compliant with copyright law through the securing of public performance licenses. This is necessary so that music copyright owners can be appropriately paid for their work.

Please note that the information provided is intended to be informational only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. For legal advise please consult an attorney or the Performing Rights Organizations directly.

How RockMyFitnessStudio Can Help

RockMyFitnessStudio is a commercial and business music licensed service, meaning that if you are only using music in an open gym or locker room area then you do not have to secure any additional licenses. However, if you are using music as a part of group fitness classes then your business does have to secure public performance licenses in order to be compliant with copyright law. Please note, the public performance license is a requirement from the licensing agencies, not from RockMyFitnessStudio. RockMyFitnessStudio is not able to provide these licenses on your behalf as the licensing agencies use business-specific factors when determining the cost.

Why FOUR Licenses Are Necessary

SESAC, ASCAP, GMR, and BMI all represent different artists. To ensure that you can play any artist regardless of who they are signed with, it is highly recommended to secure all four licenses so your business is fully compliant.

How to Secure These Licenses

To obtain proper music PERFORMANCE licensing for your studio(s) you will need to complete appropriate forms with ASCAP,  BMI, GMR, and SESAC. ASCAP, GMR, and SESAC have the entire process online. For BMI,  you must complete a paper form and FAX it (or upload it).

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can I play music legally at my gym?
    RockMyFitnessStudio licenses all necessary rights from music rights holders so that you don't have to. However, if you use the music as a part of group fitness classes additional Public Performance Licenses are required by the licensing agencies, which are SESAC, BMI, GMR, and ASCAP in the United States. As a part of our services, we will help you determine if your business needs to secure these licenses.
  • Why do I need licenses to play music?
    Music is copyrighted and protected by U.S. law. When an artist/composer writes a song, they have the right to control what happens to their original creation. Every time someone (or some company) wants to use music they need to ask for and get permission from the creator of the musical work to play that composition, and this results in a music license to use a composition. In addition to obtaining a license from the composer to play music you will need to obtain a license from the entity that owns the sound recording. Most artists contract with a record company, or music label (Universal, Sony, Warner), to record their song. The result of the studio recording of a song is called a Master recording. The label provides the technology and studio to record the musical work and usually pays to promote and distribute the sound recording and in exchange they get ownership of the Master recording. When a business plays a sound recording of the copyrighted Master recording the music label expects to be paid. The contractual permission to play compositions/songs and sound recordings are called licenses. The artists you know and love all want to be paid for their work!
  • Do businesses need multiple licenses to play music?
    Yes, each song has two different copyrights that each require a license. First, the sound recording which is what you normally think about when you listen to a song and second, the ‘music” meaning the underlying words and notes for each song generally referred to as a “composition”. This is the songwriter’s copyright. For the sound recordings, most users of music will approach the music label that recorded the master recording to obtain the proper license. For the song/music, most artists generally sign with an agent to represent them. These agents are referred to Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) and in the United States there are 4 of them. They are ASCAP, BMI, GMR, and SEASAC.
  • Do I need to get a license through all four licensors (BMI, SESAC, GMR, and ASCAP)?"
    Yes, the reason being is that RockMyFitnessStudio, just like any other music services, uses a combination of music from all four licensors. Additionally, each song individually can have a percentage of the copyright be owned by multiple difference licensors. By securing all four music licensors you are ensuring that your business is fully copyright compliant regardless of which song is played.
  • I’ve heard that I may need another license on top of what is provided and paid for by RockMyFitnessStudio?
    Yes, as stated above, RMFS obtains the proper licensing for background music use by a business. For many retail businesses, restaurants, or office settings this may be all the licensing you need. However, the PROs do require an additional license to “Publicly Perform” music in fitness classes at gyms & studios. The license is payment for using music in activities where it becomes much more integral in producing revenue. The cost of these licenses will depend on the size of your facility, the number of members, and the number of people attending your fitness classes. The cost can vary, but most gyms would pay between $1,250 - $1,750 per year for licenses from all four PROs combined.
  • What is the bottom line; what should I do to protect my business?
    We highly recommend you only use a music streaming service that is properly licensed for business and commercial use. RockMyFitnessStudio is one of those streaming services that is properly licensed. In addition, if you are using the music during fitness classes or have dancing at your business you must also obtain Public Performance licenses from the 4 PROs in the United States.
  • Can’t I just use the consumer version of RockMyRun or the consumer version of other music services? What about music I’ve downloaded or have on CD’s?
    No and no. Like all other music services meant for personal use, the consumer version of RockMyRun is licensed for personal use only and cannot be played over speakers at a business. Additionally, all other consumer streaming services (Spotify, Apple, etc), downloads and CDs are for personal use only. Business use of these products is strictly prohibited.
  • I have international locations. How can I get them licensed?
    The licensing in foreign countries is similar to the United States, but you must interact with different organizations. RockMyFitnessStudio is licensed in many foreign countries and we can help direct you.
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