What You Need To Know About Music Licensing.


Q: What is BSCPW?

BSCPW is what is known as a music performing right organization. A performing right organization represents songwriters, composers and music publishers. Often called PROs, these companies collect license fees from businesses that use music, including television and radio stations; broadcast and cable networks; new media, including the Internet and mobile technologies; satellite audio services like XM and Sirius; nightclubs, hotels, bars, restaurants and other venues; digital jukeboxes; and live concerts. These license fees are then distributed as royalties to the songwriters, composers & music publishers the PROs represent.

How does a business obtain a music license?

BSCPW offers the ability to license most businesses and organizations.  Once licensed, you can pay your fee and manage your account online.  Mail Us @  BSCPW LICENSING, Bay St. & Victoria Avenue, P.O. Box EE16595, Nassau New Providence, the Bahamas or call a BSCPW representative at (242) 322-1404 to license.

Q: What does a business really get with a BSCPW Music License?

A BSCPW License provides you with the legal authorization you need to use a very powerful product – music. This product is the music creator’s property, so a licensing agreement protects your business or organization from the penalties involved in copyright infringement. Your payment of music licensing fees ensures the continued creation of music – for you and your organization.

Q: What happens to the fees that businesses pay and how much profit does BSCPW make?

BSCPW operates on a non-profit-making basis and does not make any profit on licensing fees. All fees, minus BSCPW’s operating expenses, are then paid to our affiliated songwriters, composers, and music publishers in the form of royalties.  Eighty-Five cents of every dollar of your licensing fee goes to our affiliated copyright owners.

Q: If musicians are playing live music, aren’t they responsible for public performance fees?

Since it’s the business or organization that’s benefiting from the performance of music, management is responsible for ensuring that the organization is properly licensed. This responsibility cannot be passed on to anyone else even if the musicians hired are independent contractors.

Q: Does a business need a BSCPW License if they only play original music?

The term “original music” generally means musical works written by the performing musicians. That doesn’t mean, however, that the musicians are not affiliated with BSCPW. This is because licensing organizations like BSCPW are the vehicles through which songwriters and composers are compensated for the public performances of their music. In addition, one of the purposes of BSCPW is to help foster the development of up-and-coming songwriters, many of whom perform in public areas and establishments. Many times, these performers are asked to play a song known by the general public that was written by someone else to add to the entertainment. This performance also requires permission.

Q: If a business has a license with another performing right organization, do they still need to license with BSCPW?

A music license with another performing right organization allows you to perform only copyrighted music represented by that organization. It does not cover public performances of music licensed by BSCPW. This is because each songwriter or composer may belong to only one performing right organization at any given time, so each PRO licenses a unique repertoire of music.

Q: What is a public performance of music and what is the “Performing Right”?

A “public performance” of music is defined in the Bahamas copyright law to include any music played outside a normal circle of friends and family (personal use). Songwriters, composers, and music publishers have the exclusive right to play their music publicly and to authorize others to do so under the copyright law. This is known as the “Performing Right”. This right was designed to enable and encourage music creators to continue to create music.

When you see the words “All Rights Reserved” on a movie that you’ve rented or purchased, you know that playing that movie before a public audience is prohibited. The same restrictions apply to music that is purchased, broadcast, or live musicians that are hired to play in a public setting. Every business or organization must receive permission from the copyright owners of the music they are playing before playing it publicly.

Q: Our business bought our own iPod, CDs, & gaming software. Isn’t this our property to play anywhere?

Although most people buy digital audio files, CDs, or games like Guitar Hero thinking they are now their property, there is a distinction in the law between owning a copy of the music and owning the actual songs that are played. When you buy an audio file, software, or CD, even those specifically marketed for business purposes, the purchase price covers only your private listening use, regardless of how they are labeled. Once you decide to play any copyrighted music publicly, you need permission from the copyright owners.

Q: What service does BSCPW provide to businesses?

Our Music Licenses offer copyright clearance to use all of the works in the BSCPW repertoire in a variety of ways. This service saves music users the immense time and expense of contacting each songwriter or composer for permission to play their music publicly.

Got more questions? We’ve got more answers! Get in touch with a BSCPW REP Today.