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Law,Legislation,Wine,Winery

Next Step on Music Licensing ~ Head’s Up, Wineries

Having been in radio, and knowing that if you’re playing someone’s music in your tasting room, you need to be paying for it. I’m going to share what I just got from Jim Trezise of WineAmerica.org.

Next Step on Music Licensing: A Bill 

Just yesterday a bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress that would help alleviate some of the problems involved with music licensing–benefiting composers, musicians, and venues like wineries that wish to feature music as part of their overall ambiance.

WineAmerica Vice President Tara Good has played a leadership role on this issue for a couple years, and all that effort is now bearing fruit. Recently WineAmerica announced that ASCAP, one of the performing rights organizations (PROs), has created a winery-specific license with more flexibility and lower costs than before. In addition, WineAmerica members can receive a 10% discount when they sign up with ASCAP. [Learn more]

The new bill, titled the “Music Licensing and Ownership Act”, is spearheaded by Wisconsin Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA). The bill would greatly increase transparency in the music licensing world by establishing a free, searchable, digital database of historical and current copyright ownership and licensing information with respect to music.

This is vital because until now there has been no reliable and efficient way to figure out which of the PROs represent which artists and music, so wineries have often had to overspend to protect themselves legally. Because of this, many have actually stopped featuring music–which hurts their consumers, their business, and the artists and composers the PROs are supposedly protecting.

While this bill has just been introduced, and there’s a long way to go, it’s another example of how WineAmerica is always trying to save money (and hassles) for American wineries.

About WineAmerica

The mission of WineAmerica is to encourage the dynamic growth and development of American wineries and winegrowing, through the advancement and advocacy of sound public policy.

WineAmerica was founded in 1978 as the Association of American Vintners, a trade association of wineries with membership based in the eastern U.S. By 1991, the association had expanded and merged with the National Vintners Association forming the American Vintners Association. The association was renamed WineAmerica in 2003 to reflect its national role.

With more than 600 members, WineAmerica serves the interests of wineries in all 50 states, by leveraging its formidable grassroots lobbying strength, to benefit the entire industry.

4 Responses to “Next Step on Music Licensing ~ Head’s Up, Wineries”

  1. Tina says:

    Hold on. You mean wineries have to pay to license music they play in the background in their tasting rooms? That seems absolutely crazy. Do restaurants pay for that, too? Retail stores? I’ve never heard this.

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    Yes, Tina, legally they have to. If they get caught, there are fines involved with infractions. If you’re making money from someone else’s music (environmental marketing), it’s part of copyright laws. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226049 Great article about it.

  3. Ryan says:

    Yes, Jo is right. Every time an artist’s music is played, they are owed a royalty. The rate of this royalty increases quite a bit when the music is played in public, not just over your headphones.

    This document from Wine America does a great job of explaining (1) how much the fines could be and (2) how costly it can get to pay the PROs directly: http://wineamerica.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/WineAmericaMusicLicensingGuildelines.pdf

    And here is an article we wrote to answer some of the most frequent questions we get from customers about legally streaming music in a business: https://cloudcovermusic.com/blog/licensing-questions-legal-business-music/

    Hope these help!

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    Thanks for the backup support, Ryan. One has to be in the music industry at some level to mostly be in that loop. If you don’t know and use it, there will be fines. “Ignorance of the law,” etc.

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