Disclaimer: This information contained below does not constitute financial, legal, or other professional advice and is meant to be used solely for informational purposes. Union assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.
Great music can be an important part of the virtual wellness experience. In order to make sure you support artists and comply with the law you may need to purchase a license to play music in your classes.
This article will cover three different paths to obtaining music licenses for your classes.
Path # 1: Go Indie
If you have a personal relationship with an artist and can obtain written permission to use their music than this may be a good path for you. Union has begun working with individual artists to offer Union teachers and studios licenses to great music.
DJ Taz Rashid offers over 400+ tracks accessible on i-tunes and spotify for $79/year(teachers) or $299/year for studios with up to 30 teachers. LINK All the music is geared towards yoga and he curates specific playlists for yoga classes.
Path #2: Try a subscription service
Catalogue: 12,000 songs. Adds 150 new songs per month.
The skinny: This is a really interesting company because you will not find any “popular” songs however you will find some damn good music that sounds like it should be on the radio. They have a free music player on the website so you can play around and search for music by theme, mood, tempo, etc… they have a strong collection of genres like ambient, acoustic, folk, singer songwriter, electronic, etc… Best value for cost.
Price: $49/mo commercial license
Catalogue: 30,000 tracks.
The skinny: From browsing the website it seems they have a massive collection of ambient music that would be great background for yoga or meditation. Very little music with vocals.
Catalogue: A few thousand tracks.
The Skinny: Like Epidemic Sound this one is mostly instrumental. It has some cool filters like filtering by decade. Also cheaper than epidemic sound.
Price: $18/mo teachers, $55/mo for studios
Catalogue: Thousands of tracks
The Skinny: This music is geared towards yoga. You cannot demo the music without trying a subscription. Yogitunes has its own app where you can make playlists which is pretty convenient. Great price with additional discounts for Yoga Alliance members.
Path #3: Work with the “PROs”
There are 3 main Performance Rights Organizations (aka PROs) in the United States whose licenses will pretty much cover any song you’d find on Spotify. So if you want to play pop music while you teach legally (ie being in good standing with US Copyright Law) then this is the way to go. Services like Pandora, Apple Music, and Spotify only offer licenses for personal, non-commercial use and will not hold mustard if any of these three organizations decide to audit you. PROs collect licensing fees from users to pay copyright owners, (aka the artists and labels). The 3 PROs in the US are:
Each PRO has different costs and paths for obtaining licenses and prices generally have a range depending on the size of your business. Also, you can negotiate with reps from those organizations over email or the phone. In general if a representative from one of these organizations begins contacting your business you should not ignore them as they can levy fines and even sue you as in the case of Peloton in 2019. In general being sued by one of these organizations is rare as long as you purchase a license after being notified by them. Details for each can be found below.
Cost: Depends on
The Skinny: ASCAP offers a Website or Mobile App License for “Livestreams hosted via your website or mobile app that include music.” Prices based on the chart below. See LINK for more details:
To calculate your license costs “Session Thresholds” are defined as “a single, continuous visit to the website/mobile app, regardless of the length of the visit. For example, if a user accesses your service at 10:00 AM and stays until 11:00 AM, that would count as one session.” So even if you had 350 members who watched livestreames EVERY day, you would still be at only 127K sessions a year.
As for “Service Revenue” this “includes all revenue generated by your service.” Here it is a grey area, as revenue on Union may relate to both in-person and online experiences. Additionally 1 of every 2 songs in the world may not be held by ASCAP, and you may choose to not use any music for certain classes. Therefore you will have to make your best good faith estimate of the actual revenue related to online classes with ASCAP music.
Cost: $381 - $2,347 max for fitness studios
The Skinny: You can apply for a digital licence HERE. When applying choose: Music Type: “Audio/Visual” and Music Use: “Music Intensive, Fitness, Music Instruction.”
Cost: Minimum of $345 or .006 x Revenue made in connection with licensed services.
The Skinny: This licensing agency represents 30,000 copyright owners and more than 1 million songs. If you plan to use music by Bob Dylan, Zac Brown, or RUSH, you can do it via SESAC. SESAC also offers music from well-known television shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Seinfeld. Apply HERE