We want to play copyrighted music in our exhibit. Which organizations should I contact for copyright information and to pay any royalty fees?
Three U.S. performing-rights organizations collect copyright fees and provide basic copyright information to the public: the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (www.ascap.com
), Broadcast Music Inc. (www.bmi.com
), and SESAC (originally the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers, www.sesac.com
). Before you play any music in your exhibit, check with one of these firms to determine if there are laws governing the use of your selected music and if any fees will need to be paid to the music's copyright owner.
Depending on the popularity of the tune, fees can range from affordable to rather steep. There are, however, royalty-free songs available through websites such as FreeplayMusic.com (owned by Free Play Music LLC), RoyaltyFreeMusic.com (a division of Getty Images Inc.), and StockMusic.net (owned by Trad Ventures LLC).
Note that there are typically decibel-level limits set by show management. (The standard level is 85 decibels.) Thus, your in-exhibit music can't exceed the preset limit unless you get a variance from show management. To check your decibel level at a show, download a sound-level measurement app to your smartphone. E
— Candy Adams, CTSM, CEM, CMP, CMM, The Booth Mom, independent exhibit project manager, consultant, trainer, speaker, and writer, Vista, CA