Playing Music in Bars and Restaurants- Cautions When Allowing Broadcast Stations to Play in Retail Outlets

Recently in the news, a bar was forced to stop playing live music because of a lawsuit filed by BMI, charging them with not paying royalties for the use of its music. Because of the popularity of these types of entertainment areas nowadays, it is right to talk about the cautions involved in playing music in bars and restaurants. It is worth reminding retail outlets, as well as bars and restaurants, to pay music royalties to BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, even GMR when they use their music in their bars and restaurants. They don’t need to pay if the situation fits them to the particular exceptions where they get away with the payment. 

For small businesses, employees are allowed to use a device to play music at home. They can have their audio devices for personal entertainment. The exceptions are different when it comes to larger businesses. They can be exempted if they meet specific rules. 

The exceptions are based on two factors. The first one is the physical size of the bar, restaurant, or retail store and the second one is the number of broadcast receivers it uses. These exceptions are only applicable when the business uses an FCC-licensed TV station or radio, given that the originator of the programming paid the right fees. If the industry enjoys this exception, it cannot charge an entrance fee. Moreover, the business should fall into one of these categories:

  1. The size of the physical store, bar, or restaurant should be less than 2,000 gross square feet, or for foodservice and drinking establishments, it should be less than 3750 gross square feet. The parking area is excluded in the measurement of the total size. Also, the parking area should be used exclusively for parking and not become a patio or part of the bar during beautiful weather. 
  2. If in case the business doesn’t fit the set square footage mentioned above, then it should follow these rules:
  3. The business should only play the radio and no live music. The total number of speakers used should be no more than six, and no more than four of those can be used in one room or adjoining rooms or outdoor space. 
  4. If the bar, restaurant, or retail store use a TV, it can’t use more than 4. The size of the TV should not be bigger than 55 inches, and there should not be more than one in one room. The same rules apply for the number of speakers providing audio for the TV. There should not be more than six speakers in total and no more than four in one room. 

These exceptions are not only for consumer-type radios, but the business venue should only play a licensed radio or TV stations by FCC. It can’t use an iTunes library, or CDs, and other streaming devices. In any case that the business plays live music, or used any of the above-mentioned services, they should get a public performance license.

The 10 Most WTF Crimes Committed by Musicians

You might have already heard of Michael Todd’s, Coheed and Cambria’s bassist charges when he allegedly robbed a Walgreens pharmacy before a performance. He left empty bottles of oxycodone and hailed a taxi to Massachusetts for their band’s performance. This may sound already sound hilarious but believe me; this doesn’t even make it to the top ten when it comes baffling crimes musicians have committed. 

We have compiled some of the weirdest and WTF crimes committed by rappers, rock stars, and other musicians that will make you ask “Why did they do that?”  

Top 10 Barry White 

Barry White was seventeen years old when he stole $40,000 in Cadillac tires. He was in prison for four months for the crime. Allegedly, he was inspired by Elvis’ “It’s Now or Never” to lead a better life and focus on the music while he was in jail. 

Top 9 Johnny Cash 

In 1965, the “Ring of Fire” singer started a forest fire when his truck was set on fire at Los Padres National Forest in California. Although he never meant to start the fire, the damage was undeniable. It destroyed more than 500 acres of land and killed 49 condors. The U.S government filed a suit against him but he didn’t seem to care about the “damned yellow buzzards.” He was never arrested for it, but Cash paid $82,000 to settle the case. 

Top 8 Bob Dylan

The rock icon Bob Dylan was put under custody on July 23 in Long Branch, New Jersey, following a call from a resident reporting to the police about an “eccentric-looking old man.” The resident told police that the man entered their yard that has a “for sale” sign. 

The police officers found him, but he had no identification that is why they drove him back to his hotel. Lucky enough, Bob Dylan was able to prove his identity when the police saw oversized tour buses in the parking lot and recovered his passport. 

Top 7 Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne, the metal legend, is known for the many weird things he has done in his prime. He has done some crazy stuff including biting off the head of a poor bat while performing on stage, which left many baffled. In 1982, he got drunk after a performance in San Antonio Texas, and allegedly worn one of his wife’s dresses and peed on a cenotaph that was deemed sacred because it is dedicated for the dead at the Alamo. Apparently, he was arrested and charged with public intoxication after the incident. For ten years, he was not allowed to set foot at San Antonio, Texas because of the scandal.

Top 6 Sex Pistols

Even their name suggests trouble. It would be surprising (also disappointing) of this English punk rockers didn’t get charged for harassment. We aren’t even surprised to find out they did the crime to none other than the Queen of England. On a beautiful day of June 7, 1977, the Queen’s Jubilee holiday, the band sailed down the Thames River on a boat named Queen Elizabeth. The group tried to play “God Save the Queen” outside the Palace of Westminster. 

The police were able to reach their boat, while Paul Cook began to shout “No fun! No fun!” All of them were arrested. Eleven of the band members slept in jail that night.

Top 5 Max Collins 

The list will not be complete without the frontman of Eve 6, Max Collins. He was charged with indecent exposure after he performed at a music festival naked, in May 2003. He was seen playing the lounge piano and getting in the elevator. He was escorted back to his room and was arrested by police. Following that night, he was released after settling bail. 

Top 4 Jim Morrison 

Who would forget about the Lizard King? Jim Morrison tried to incite a riot at a performance in Miami, Florida, on March 1969. However, he failed and exposed his penis onstage. He was charged with lewd and lascivious behavior, indecent exposure, drunkenness, and profanity by the Dade County Sheriff’s Office. Allegedly, he was also charged with “simulated oral copulation on Robbie Krieger, their band guitarist, on the same day.  He was convicted for the crime and faced a six-month prison service. He also paid a $500 fine. Unfortunately, he died before serving his sentence. 

Top 3 Chuck Berry 

Chuck Berry is one exciting guy who fits the list. Aside from having stolen cars and being charged with armed robbery and transporting a girl across the state border for illegal purposes, his name was also dragged in a scandal where several women sued him for taking a video of them in the bathroom of the restaurant he owned in St. Louis. Reports say that he paid $1.2 million and legal fees to settle the charge. His lawyers claimed that he was a victim of someone who wants to take advantage of his money. Police found footage of women using the bathroom and a large amount of marijuana in the house during a raid. He pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of marijuana possession. 

Top 2 Boy George 

Of course, Boy George. The Culture Club frontman was charged with false imprisonment of Auden Carlsen. The Norwegian escort claimed that Boy George invited him to his home to pose for photographs. He escaped from the brandishing of whips and other sex objects after wrenching a hook out of the wall.

Top 1 DMX 

Earl Simmons in real life, this rapper is not new to jail time and has a diverse criminal record, but one incident stands out from the rest. The rapper crashed his sports car through a parking lot at Kennedy Airport after telling the attendant to let him go because he was a government employee. Police found cocaine in his car, and he was charged with criminal impersonation, menacing and driving under the influence of drugs, and criminal mischief. On December 8, 2004, the rapper pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to a conditional discharge. However, he violated it later.