Have you ever wondered how songwriters get paid when a business or venue plays one of their songs? Whether it’s karaoke night at the local bar or simply background music played throughout the day, federal copyright law often requires business owners to get advance permission prior to playing a songwriter’s latest hit.

In most instances, advance permission comes in the form of obtaining a repertoire-wide or “blanket” license from one, if not all, of the ever-expanding list of Performing Rights Organizations, also known as PROs. These organizations serve as intermediaries between songwriters and local businesses who want to publicly perform music on behalf of their customers.

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