Background music (BGM) and background radio applications are used regularly throughout most commercial and industry settings.
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Background music and background radio is designed to provide non-intrusive 'low level' (often described as passive) audio levels to help improve and enhance the installation setting. The choice of music / radio, and the volume levels are chosen and set so that the audio can be listened to without adverse impact to the setting activities.
Background music is somewhat subjective, there are some people that just don't like it. However, designed correctly, with the volume levels set appropriately, most people approve and enjoy BGM. Research has provided evidence of the positive effects that BGM can provide to businesses, workers and also the public in the many retail, commercial and industry settings.
MusicWorks, is a joint initiative set up between the two leading music industry licencing organisations, the PPL and the PRS. MusicWorks provides research into background music and the positive benefit it can give to businesses and the workplace. For example, MusicWorks research has shown that there is clear evidence that worker job satisfaction, morale and productivity is improved when BGM is provided.
Typical, traditional BGM application solutions will contain:
Local Music audio source: From local storage - eg. CD, MP3, USB players
Streaming Music audio source: Tracks and playlists from local audio server or internet (eg. Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, Shoutcast)
Radio audio source: From an FM/DAB/DAB+ and Internet radio tuners
Mixer/Amplifier: To provide the basic audio processing and output power
Loudspeakers: To produce the audio/music
IP BGM utilises an IP network (LAN, WAN and Internet) to distribute and stream IP music and IP radio. Improved and new BGM topologies and solution designs can be created when using IP BGM (not possible with traditional audio products and technology). For example, a large retail company or multi-site commercial organisation could choose to centralise their BGM service from a single location within their network or even with a 3rd party BGM provider (some internet ones now exist). In this way, IP BGM provides improved control and deployment flexibility of streaming IP music and radio throughout the stores and/or organisation.
When considering background music or background radio in the UK (commercial or public broadcast), there are two primary organisations and licencing authorities you must consider.
The Public Performance Licencing (PPL): This organisation licences 'recorded' music for public and/or commercial broadcast. The PPL focus is to the performers and artists. It collects and distributes licence fees as royalties, to recording artists and other qualifying members.
The Performing Rights Society (PRS): This organisation represents songwriters, composers (including lyrics) and music publishing companies. The PRS collects and distributes royalties on their behalf.
Do I need both licences? Song writers, performers and the music industry protects and enforces copyright through licencing. In all situations, we would always advise your direct contact with both licencing organisations to ascertain your specific licencing requirements. However, if you plan to use BGM in the workplace and/or publically, then you will almost certainly require both licences (even if you plan for a radio only BGM, as the music, ads and 'jingles' are protected).
NOTE: New for 2018. To help simplify and improve licencing for BGM users/customers, the PPL and PRS have created a joint venture business called 'The Music Licence'. Existing and new licencing requires contact only with this single new organisation and not with the PPL and PRS separately as previously. The new licencing organisation and details about 'The Music Licence can be found at: https://pplprs.co.uk/.