A survey suggests many small businesses which play music to the public are not aware they are supposed to pay royalties. (iStock)


A new survey suggests that many Canadian owners of small businesses are playing background music illegally and not paying required royalties owed to those who made it. 

The study of businesses that employ fewer than 10 people suggests that 82 per cent are unaware of their legal obligations to performers and composers. They don’t know that they are not even allowed to play radio stations or personal playlists without obtaining authorisation from performers, composers and publishers. This leaves them liable for fines for copyright infringement. 

Musicians may be deprived of revenue from royalties that are supposed to be paid when their music is played in public. (iStock)

Of the respondents, 71 per cent considered music to be essential but only 11 per cent paid rights to the creators.

The survey involved 510 small businesses across Canada such as retail, restaurants and bars, personal services, leisure and entertainment,  hospitality and veterinary services.