Monday, October 2, 2017

Music Licensing and Mood Media

Lilly Hummel

Some AHCA/NCAL members have been contacted by one or more of the three entities which hold copyrights for music, BMI, SESAC, or ASCAP. These contacts, by letter or telephone call, assert the member is violating US Copyright laws by playing music in a “public space.” They are requesting the provider apply and pay for license to play music in their communities (both assisted living and nursing centers).

Under the 1976 Copyright Act, the holder of the copyright or its assigns (BMI, SESAC or ASCAP) has the exclusive right to reproduce the work and, in the case of a sound recording, to perform the copyrighted work publicly. Perform has a broad definition and includes singing, playing music, broadcasting, playing a CD or DVD, or turning on a radio or TV.  Publicly means to perform any place where a substantial number of persons outside a normal circle of family and social acquaintances hear the music or it is open to the public.

Examples of situations where playing music may be a public performance include live performances, DJ’s, Karaoke, music in common areas, large screen or multiple TV’s, background music, resident social gathering/holiday events, aerobic/dance/fitness classes.

There are two exceptions which may apply to AHCA/NCAL members:
Areas less than 2,000 total square feet (excluding residential areas) may be excluded from having to obtain a license.
Live performances for residents in a not-for-profit community that does not create any direct or indirect commercial activity (marketing) do not need a license.  A local choir singing Christmas carols would be an example.

A determination of whether you need a license from BMI, SESAC and or ASCAP will depend on the specific circumstances in your community.  We recommend consulting an attorney before deciding to apply for a license. You can get more information by going to the web site of each of the licensing entities:;;

In response, AHCA/NCAL has launched a new preferred product program with Mood Media.  Mood offers several music packages at exclusive AHCA/NCAL member pricing starting at $29.99 per month with a three-year agreement.  Members also have access to exclusive pricing on purchasing or leasing different musical equipment and on Mood’s scent services.

Members can use Mood’s fully licensed music services to: 
Improve the dining experience and set the Mood in dining areas as residents gather for meals;
Provide a variety of background music in common areas;
Create a positive environment for activities; and
Provide musical entertainment for social gatherings and happy hours.

While Mood’s services do not cover music licensing for recorded music, televised music and for live musical performances, Mood does offer an alternative source of music to members that is fully licensed. For more information about Mood Media’s services, call 800-345-5000 or go to (password: moodpartner).

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