Great answers. I was totally unaware of the legal repercussions to this.
You can buy licensed music for which you don’t need to have a license to use in fitness classes. But as you have discovered, most of it is “cover” music. That is becasue the license the fitness music company pays on each song is expensive even for a cover band to do the music. And a lot of the most popular music is never licensed for the original artist. If you play your own music for classes or for personal training you are in violation of federal law and the fines can be huge, especially if you get a warning and are caught using unlicensed music again. While I admit cover music is not the same, most people who are working out don’t notice the difference unless they really focus on the voices of songs. You might think you would pay for the original, but in order to make enough profit (and apparently it is never enough for some people) the fitness music company would have to charge you and I around $20 or more per song. So your 20 song 60 min. CD would cost around $400. Are you willing to pay that much for every CD?
You do need a license for that & the fines can get pretty hefty if you’re warned & don’t comply. It looks like Nancy covered the organizations that you need to get in contact with.
If you’re playing music in a studio or gym setting, it’s considered a public performance. ASCAP, BMI and SEASAC are the licensing agencies that cover music performance licensing. Typically the gym is responsible for the license fees, based on the number of classes held per week and average attendance.
Hello Joseph Ying,
Can and may are two different questions. I wouldn’t, unless it is designed and purchased for group exercise classes for profit. You may have the students use their own music, which is for personal non commercial use.
If this does not satisfy you, then you will want to obtain a performance license from a performing rights society. If you are employed by a club, you may be covered under a blanket license; ask the employer.
Better safe than sorry.
Natalie aka NAPS 2 B Fit.