Background music
April 5, 2005 11:56 AM   Subscribe

Retail-or-bar-or-restaurant-mananger-filter: who is the best background music provider (DMX, Muzak, PlayNetwork, etc.) and why?
posted by MattD to Media & Arts (11 answers total)
Oh god I hated sattelite radio when I was a manager! Plays the same loop of songs over and over. We had DMX at the time, and I've never heard anything else. I will say that whatever the restaurant Sea in Williamsburg plays is great and always at the right volume.
posted by scazza at 12:38 PM on April 5, 2005

WE had the same situation and decided on a third option: buy a dvd player and record mp3's to a cd. This way you have upwards of 8 to 10 hours of music. Would you rather have crap that you control or crap that you can't? If you go this route, try downloading torrents.
posted by ashbury at 1:17 PM on April 5, 2005

Note that ashbury's method isn't quite legal, and you may run the risk of ASCAP or BMI breathing down your neck.
posted by zsazsa at 1:30 PM on April 5, 2005

Of course, if you're a cheap-ass, you might find (dunno if it's still true) that most of the muzak broadcasted on satellite isn't encrypted, and therefore legal to receive without a subscription (look up FTA satellite receivers on google, also check out lyngsat and satcodx).

You'll still get to pay money to your local record theives, though. I bet you would be able to get away with it for a small store, though, until you get a warning...
posted by shepd at 1:38 PM on April 5, 2005

The downloading-torrents bit notwithstanding, it's perfectly legal to play whatever music you like, zsazsa, as long as you pay an annual licensing fee to ASCAP and BMI.

That's what we did at the club/restaurant I worked at for many years. The licensing fee was cheaper than the monthly fee for those subscription services anyway.
posted by bcwinters at 1:39 PM on April 5, 2005

I believe the legality of ashbury's method has something to do with the number of speaker-points, oddly.

You might also look at XM, with similar restrictions - as of 15 months ago they had nothing in their user agreement that differentiated between commercial and personal use.
posted by phearlez at 1:40 PM on April 5, 2005

iTunes? Terroni on Queen St. in Toronto serves it via iBook.
posted by joeclark at 3:56 PM on April 5, 2005

here is ASCAP's info about their yearly licensing fee for bars/clubs/restaurants (their "general license"); BMI's license info -- pay the license fees, hook up an ipod and everyone wins: the musicians get paid and you get good music you can change out on your own schedule.
posted by gac at 5:40 PM on April 5, 2005

As to the XM comment above, I would warn you that even the "no commercial" channels have ads for other XM programming occasionally. So it isn't a constant stream of music (although there may be some channels that are this way). The music and variety on XM is great, but I don't think it works too well in a commercial environment.
posted by shinynewnick at 8:37 PM on April 5, 2005

Another vote for ASCAP/BMI license. Have control over the sound of your place. That seems pretty basic, especially given how bad most of those piped feeds are.

I wonder what licensing you would need to play an MP3 stream from iTunes or whatever mp3 streaming client you use. Gah, public music has become so complicated.
posted by squirrel at 10:48 PM on April 5, 2005

haha, just don't skip out on the ASCAP/BMI, this little shithole in the wall bar down the street from me thought they could get by without it, and just got sued for years of backed fees

one restauraunt i used to frequent uses the cable company's digital audio channels, 20+ channels with absolutely no ads or interruptions.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 6:31 AM on April 6, 2005

« Older Self-directed hipster literati tourist in San...   |   Info on rear-projection TVs...? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.