Running a Restaurant/Bmi license

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Question
I am an owner of a small restaurant in the state of Missouri BMI is telling me that I need to have a license from them in order to let people come in and play music we have what we call jam sessions no one is being paid anyone is welcome to bring instruments or sing there is no cover charge 2 enter and listen or no drink minimum

Answer
Unless the people who are "jamming" are doing so using their own music, written and composed by them, and not commercially licensed (meaning they just wrote it before they went on stage and they are not contracted with any talent or music company). Otherwise, if they perform any commercially copyrighted music, you must have a license to do so. That's the law. That's the business. It's been this way for generations.

Nothing else matters except that you are allowing people to perform copyrighted material in public and making money doing so. Not the size of your business, not that fact that you don't charge a cover, etc...  because you are making money off of food right? And using the music as a draw to get people to come and buy something you sell. And the music is copyrighted. And all music contracts contain a BMI/ASCAP enforcement clause.  

Running a Restaurant

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Jeffrey Summers

Expertise

I am the Founder & Owner of Summers Hospitality Group. We have over 300 years of successful experience in operating and consulting with chain, franchise and independent restaurant & hotel operators around the world. Check us out on the web for more information at http://SummersHospitality.Group or call us toll free at 888-998-8744.

Experience

We have experience on any topic related to the restaurant & hospitality industry - from Menu R&D, Menu Engineering, Marketing Strategies, New Store Openings, P&L Analysis, Lease Negotiations, Staffing, Policies & Procedures, Building & Design, Site Location, Branding, PR & Promotions, Multi-Unit Development, and any other area effecting the operation of your business.

Organizations
The National Restaurant Association. The Society of Hospitality Management. The Gerson Lehrman Leisure & Lodging Council The Professional Business Coaches Alliance The International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education Several state restaurant & hotel associations.

Publications
My articles and opinion pieces have been featured on several industry websites, magazines, blogs and forums including: Money Magazine Wall Street Journal USA Today RestaurantOwner.com RestaurantEdge.com FoodService.com Ezinearticles.com Restaurant Startup & Growth Magazine American Express' Briefing Newsletter Nation's Restaurant News and tons more!

Education/Credentials
I hold degrees in Economics, English, Culinary Arts and industry certifications in Hospitality Management and Restaurant & Catering Management.

Past/Present Clients
Here's a list of some of the brands we have worked with: Hardee's, Marriott, Hilton, Connie's Pizza, Burger King, Chili's, Long John Silver's, Bar Louie's, The Purple Sage Bistro, Applebee's, Shoney's, T.G.I. Friday's, La Dolce Vita Pastries & Catering, 5 Seasons Sports Clubs..and many more.

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