Do you play music in your yoga classes to set a mood or in the lobby as background noise? Well, in legal terms this constitutes a public performance, which would require you to have copyright permission from the content creator. Even a performance as small as playing a YouTube video in class can get you in trouble without having the right paperwork.

As a small business owner, the last thing you need to deal with are legal fees for infringing on music copyright when you were only trying to set the mood.

A safe bet if you are going to play music during class is to obtain a music license. There are three U.S. entities that license public performance rights, so obtaining a license from all three is the only way to eliminate every risk of copyright infringement.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is the largest music public performance licensing company out of the three. If you choose to pay for one, this would be a good bet. Fees for this range just under $100, but when a studio is first starting, this can seem like a lot for just music.

With the rise of music streaming services like Spotify, it is easy for this water to get muddy. Someone may argue that because they are paying for their Spotify account each month they should be able to use it in a class.


When you sign up for a Spotify account you agree to only make personal, non-commercial entertainment use of the content. However, Spotify has a Soundtrack Business option, which is a commercial license subscription level. It enables you to legally stream and download music from Spotify and play it to anyone visiting your business. The price does jump, however, from $9.99 to $34.99 a month.

For businesses in the U.S. and Canada the public performance right is usually included in the Soundtrack Business subscription, which means you don’t have to pay any additional rights to collecting societies, such as ASCAP. However, it is always a good idea to call the collecting society to make sure your business fits in to this category.

If you don’t want to pay for these licenses, another solution is to create your own music. In nearly every community there are musicians looking for a chance to get their music heard, and this is a great opportunity for both your studio and the musicians.

With uplifting community being a goal in the forefront of many studio owners’ minds, embracing those around you is a great way to uplift your neighborhood and bring the outside in. The best way to make sure you are safe legally here is to obtain a written document from the artist claiming it is perfectly fine for you to use their music.