By Jessica Frost

The sound of a hotel can either welcome guests with enthusiasm or signal that your property is simply a place to sleep; and in such a competitive marketplace, is that the message you want to send? Fortunately, music–wherever it’s played–can both welcome guests and not break your budget.

But playing music in a hotel requires more than just turning it on or hiring musicians. Music, like all intellectual property, is owned by the songwriters or composers who create it. This ownership is protected under U.S. and global copyright laws, which state that businesses that use music must first get permission from copyright owners to play it publicly. If that sounds daunting, it doesn’t have to be.

There are blanket music licenses that each of the four U.S. PROs, (BMI, ASCAP, SESAC and GMR) offer. Each PRO licenses a unique repertoire of music, which when combined, includes copyright clearance to publicly play all the music used in the U.S. every day, saving you the time and expense of contacting each copyright owner individually. Each PRO also licenses hundreds of thousands of businesses like yours that comply with the law, so music creators can be paid for the public performances of the songs they write. By paying these songwriters and composers, who aren’t always the artists performing the work, the creation of music continues for all of us to enjoy, including businesses that benefit from playing it.

In a Lodging Magazine article, “The Importance of Sound in Hotels,” it’s emphasized that “music can be a way of projecting a positive image. A hotel can use music to communicate the feeling it seeks to evoke—whether it’s a soothing retreat from busy daily life or a hip and happening urban venue. The right music leaves no doubt about it. It will help cement the desired image from the very moment of entry, until checkout.” The New York Times reported on the rising trend of live music, dance parties and film screenings in hotels noting “now everyone is realizing having all these extra entertainments are not just good business but help drive the occupancy of the hotel,” while The National Center For Health Research found that “listening to music while exercising doesn’t just relieve boredom — it can help improve the quality of your workout by increasing your stamina and putting you in a better mood.”

These articles illustrate the importance of music to hotels in lobbies, restaurants and exercise rooms – all of which can leave a lasting impression on your guests. This type of positive experience can have a direct impact on whether they’ll come back to your property for business or pleasure.

So, whether you’re getting in on the trend of playing music in your hotel, or you’re already using it, licensing the music you play protects both you and the songwriters who created it. That makes it a sound investment in your hotel that you shouldn’t pass up, especially when it’s so easy to do and less expensive than you may think!