Friday, 7 October 2016

The Dark Side of Using Music Apps for your Bar or Restaurant’s Background Music

If you walk into a bar or restaurant and don’t hear music, what do you think? You’re probably going to assume the establishment is closed. The ambience is just as crucial to the customer experience as the food and service—and the music is one of the most important factors in achieving the perfect vibe.

Playing music in your bar or restaurant is unavoidable. Today access to music is easier than ever, with a click of a button or a tap of your finger you can have a playlist running and tunes pumping within seconds. Sounds easy, right?

Using online streaming apps or making do-it-yourself playlists may seem like the easier and cheaper options, but what are you really risking when you use an app or play unlicensed music in your establishment?

Think twice before you plug in your iPod or download that free music app—what seems like a simple solution and money saving measure may end up giving you twice the headaches, hurting your brand and costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars. Learn what you’re risking by using “free” music; it may not be as simple as you think.


What’s more annoying or time-consuming than computer glitches, viruses and system crashes? Not only can a slow or stalled computer system slow down your service, it can seriously impact your records and cost big bucks to fix.

A recent example of how free music apps can put your system at risk is the malware infestation issue with Spotify’s free music streaming service. Spotify users noticed that infected ads were being pushed out when the service was used on laptops, causing browsers to automatically open malicious websites.

Your computer system touches every aspect of your business: your marketing programs, record keeping and accounting, orders, inventory, etc. Are you willing to put it at risk for free music?

If you add in the costs associated with potential system slowdowns, crashes and repairs, using a “free” service can wind up hitting your bottom line harder than paying for a secure system.


When planned with purpose, your background music and playlists can enhance your atmosphere and create a unique ambience that helps elevate your brand. Guests will return expecting your signature vibe and experience; a consistent sound is imperative to creating a consistent experience.

While some free apps offer ready-made themed playlists, unless you spend the time to review each song list you risk playing a song that may contain offensive lyrics or contrast your brand. Additionally, there is usually little wiggle room to remove individual tracks from pre-packaged playlists. You’ll likely have to spend the time building your own list from scratch.

In many “do it yourself” music scenarios, the playlist is at the mercy of your staff and can change according to who is working that day. It’s great to have happy and engaged staff; however, a system that doesn’t set perimeters can result in a sound that doesn’t suit your brand or provide a consistent experience, especially if your establishment has multiple locations.

While free music apps and playlists sound like a quick and easy solution, you risk spending hours building appropriate playlists and surrender your control over your brand consistency.


Plan and simple: playing music without a license in your bar or restaurant is a copyright violation and you could be sued.

Think it won’t happen to you? Think again. Copyright infringement lawsuits usually don’t end favorably for the accused—and you could be looking at anywhere from $750 to $150,000 PER violation; a much higher cost than investing in a secure and licensed music service.

So if you’re currently streaming “free” music, or thinking about it, it’s time to examine what it’s really worth and what you’re willing to risk.

The good news is that there are affordable solutions out there that can ease your worries and help you avoid all of these risks—and the best part is you can actually SAVE money, time and add around $1000/month of extra revenue to your bottom line.
Contact controlPLAY to learn more and test out your free demo.

Drop us a line at
or give us a shout at 1-866-896-3470.

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