Overhead Music is a great way to keep customers happy and engaged in your store or facility. The right music can keep people shopping longer. A popular solution for providing in-store music is playing a form of internet radio - Pandora, RDIO, Spotify, or another service. These services are free and provide a seemingly endless amount of music for you and your customers. But at some point, you have to think "This is too good to be true. Can I really play this in my store?"
And the answer is, quite simply, no. You can't just stream music from an online service and play it in your store. And you probably don't want to.
5 Reasons Not to Stream Internet Radio in Your Store
- It's Illegal. When you buy a CD or stream music from Pandora, it's understood that this music is for personal enjoyment exclusively. So while you can play this music while you're out for a jog or at a dinner party, you can't broadcast it in any commercial way. If you want to take this risk, you can face big, big fines from ASCAP and BMI. Essentially, any financial benefit your business has received from playing music for customers will be taken away via fines or legal fees. It's a messy situation, and you don't want to go there.
- You have little or no control. While some streaming services give you control of playlists and programming, others, like the ubiquitous Pandora, leave you with little to no control over your music selection. And then, you are given a limited number of song skips an hour. So if you accidentally wind up with a song with foul language, you might be stuck with it.
- It's manually controlled. The beauty of modern technology is that it's incredibly flexible and can automate many tasks. There are professional overhead music systems, for example, that will allow you to program playlists for certain times of the day or days of the week. Once you set it up, it's automated and you don't have to remember to switch anything while preparing for your 11:30 lunch rush or after work shoppers.
- It's not unique. While online streaming services are often convenient solutions, they also force you to work with their existing content. Frequently, you are using a playlist made by the company or another user and you can't edit it and customize it for your business. The Classic Rock playlist has only a sampling of popular classic songs - they're probably not what you're looking for. And you'll hear these same songs many times, every time you use the playlist - it is what it is.
- IT'S STILL ILLEGAL. Okay, maybe you're a small business and you don't think you'll get caught. Maybe you think you're the one business that won't get slapped with a huge fine. Maybe you're just a risk taker. That's all well and good, but you're going to get caught eventually. And you're going to have to pay. That's that.
No matter how appealing it seems on the surface, when you dig deeper into these free online music streaming services, you'll see that they're just not quite the right fit for your business.