Four out of five small Canadian businesses don’t pay to broadcast music

A Leger study on Background Music in Canadian Small Businesses commissioned by Stingray sheds light on Canadian small business owners’ lack of awareness of the legal framework governing the use of music in public spaces: 82% are unaware of the applicable legislation and of their legal obligations to performers and composers.

According to the study, while music is considered essential by 71% of respondents, only 11% pay rights to music creators. Also according to the report, 63% of those surveyed are unaware of any regulation preventing them from using a private streaming account to broadcast music publicly in their business. The study also reveals that 48% of business owners consider it important to broadcast Canadian music but only 18% declared being willing to pay tariffs to right holders.

Based on the study’s findings, business owners do not realize that a license is required to broadcast music in a public space. Without a license, they are liable for copyright infringement fines and performing rights societies may decide to pursue the matter through legal channels.

“The Leger study on Background Music in Canadian Small Businesses makes abundantly clear that the work of music creators is often taken for granted,” stated Mathieu Péloquin, Senior Vice-President, Marketing and Content of Stingray. “While we commissioned this study to gain a better understanding of the public use of music for our commercial division Stingray Business, we are happy to share the conclusions with the entire music industry. The results reveal that there is a pressing need for stakeholders, policy-makers, and business owners to join forces to address this crucial issue in support of our artists. Today’s findings confirm that further efforts are required to strengthen and communicate the existing legal framework.”

Stingray leverages over a decade of music distribution expertise to provide a turnkey service to broadcast music legally in commercial spaces at a price that is affordable for even the smallest business. Stingray’s hundreds of commercial-free music channels are designed for businesses, screened for inappropriate content and lyrics, and promote Canadian content and creators.

The survey was conducted among 510 small businesses (1 to 9 employees) across Canada with a physical space open to customers. All survey respondents are owners, managers or assistant managers in the following industries: retail, restaurants and bars, personal services (e.g., hairdressers, dry cleaners, and photographers), leisure and entertainment services, hospitality, and veterinary services.