The Hidden Risks of Unlicensed Music in Commercial Spaces

March 1, 2024

Lucia Giacomelli

The Hidden Risks of Unlicensed Music in Commercial Spaces

In retail and hospitality, the right music sets the ambiance, crucial for customer engagement. Yet, many businesses overlook the legal and economic benefits of using authorized music platforms like Brandtrack, exposing themselves to risks and missing out on market potential.

The Legal Dilemma of Unauthorized Music Use

Using platforms such as Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Music for commercial purposes is a common mistake due to a lack of awareness. These services are intended for personal use, and their commercial exploitation breaches a complex array of music rights, leading to legal actions and fines. This widespread ignorance not only poses significant legal risks but also affects related industries by undermining the rights framework designed to protect creators and stakeholders.

Market Volume and Economic Opportunity

The global background music market, encompassing music used in commercial settings, is substantial. According to a report by Mordor Intelligence, the background music market size was valued at approximately $650 million in 2019 and is projected to reach around $1.2 billion by 2024, growing at a CAGR of nearly 10.2%. This growth underscores the significant economic opportunity for businesses in the retail and hospitality industries to leverage licensed music as part of their customer experience strategy.

Costs of Non-Compliance

The economic risks of using unauthorized music platforms stem from potential legal actions, including copyright infringement lawsuits. The costs associated with these risks can be substantial. For instance, copyright infringement fines in the United States can range from $750 to $30,000 per song, and in cases of willful infringement, fines can escalate to $150,000 per song. Beyond the direct financial penalties, businesses face potential legal fees, settlement costs, and the intangible impact of reputational damage, which can affect customer loyalty and future revenue.


The decision to use authorized music platforms like Brandtrack is not only a legal and ethical consideration but also a strategic economic choice. Investing in licensed music services not only supports the music industry financially but also enhances the customer experience, contributing to a business's competitive edge and long-term success.

Lucia Giacomelli excels as the Marketing Team Lead at Brandtrack.

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