Streaming music overhead sounds like a simple way to create ambiance at your business. However, there are important limitations to consider when it comes to business licensing through online music streaming services. Let’s go over why you should or shouldn't stream music overhead via Pandora, Spotify, and Sirius/XM.
Pandora Business: YES
Many people know Pandora as a free streaming service, with commercials.
Pandora Business offers the same music for business use, but you need to pay a fee to remove the intermittent commercials. The monthly fee covers the music and the proper licensing so that you can legally play music via Pandora for your customers.
Just a couple “catches” here: you have to buy a piece of hardware from the company that owns the Pandora Business segment. You can’t fully customize your playlists without using the Pandora ‘thumbs up/thumbs down’ and even then, you can’t add specific tracks to your playlist. Music isn’t necessarily edited for explicit content, though you can set up a filter with your account.
And finally, one item that is not clearly noted up front but is highlighted within their Terms of Service: you can’t use Pandora Business at any establishment where there is a cover charge or admission fee. That includes ballrooms, discotheques, dance studios, bowling centers, theme parks, skating rinks, nightclubs, or in instructed health club classes.
Spotify offers a licensed business music model, which includes all the regular Spotify features. However, as of today, it is available only in Sweden.
Any use of Spotify - whether you have a free, unlimited or premium account - is not legally licensed for commercial or public use in the U.S.
Sirius/XM offers a couple different options for commercial use.
First is their satellite service - it’s basically the same as what you’d hear if you had Sirius/XM installed in your car, including interruptions from DJs and on-air hosts, plus Sirius/XM mentions. Playlists are not customizable to meet your business needs, and explicit content is not filtered unless you call and specifically request the channels be blocked. In addition, since it’s satellite based, you need a satellite antenna in order to use the service.
Sirius/XM also offers an internet-based business music service. You must either purchase a piece of hardware for this service or use a computer connected to high-speed internet and your sound system. The difference between the satellite service and internet service is that the internet service offers 30 music channels that are free from commercials, DJs, and Sirius/XM mentions. Just music for your business - what a concept! It also allows for some simple scheduling or day-parting of your playlists.
Both the satellite and internet based Sirius/XM Business subscriptions have the same restriction as Pandora Business, in that you’re responsible for additional licensing if you charge admission or a membership fee to your establishment.
Music from Spectrio: YES
There are many companies that offer Internet based business music, including us here at Spectrio! In addition to using high-quality, entirely commercial-free music channels, we can create completely custom playlists just for your business.
We always filter for explicit content, and we update our channels frequently. It’s not exactly the same as streaming music from Pandora or satellite radio such as Sirius/XM, but our business music service offers a more custom listening experience for your customers.