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Legally Combining Music & Movement

Legally Combining Music & Movement

For many exercisers, music and fitness are like peanut butter and jelly – they just complement one another perfectly. Countless studies observing the relationship between exercise and listening to music illustrate that enjoying some tunes while working out can distract from pain and fatigue, can elevate mood, and has the potential to increase endurance.

Syncing beats per minute with an exercise pace can also increase movement efficiency. Are you adding music to your classes? Have you dotted your ‘I’s and crossed your ‘T’s to ensure that you’re playing it legally and ethically?


Despite taking the action to legally download music or pay for a streaming service, did you know that this still does not allow for it to be played in studios, gyms or fitness centers? Depending on your jurisdiction, even with a business streaming account, any public space that charges admission is responsible for covering licensing costs issued by the proper governing body. The reasoning behind this is that if the business playing the music (i.e. a fitness facility) is benefitting from playing the music, the artist(s) should be compensated accordingly.


Each country typically has its own performing rights organization (PRO) that collects royalties from businesses playing the songs and then distributes those to the artist, composers and any other relevant parties.

In the event that a facility is discovered to be playing music illegally, a PRO could issue a fine up to as much as $150,000 USD per song. This means it’s in a business owner’s best interest to ensure that they’re acquiring music legally and ethically!


Not sure what the legalities are in your country? Here are links to a number of performing rights organizations:

Australia – Music Rights Australia

Canada – SOCAN

China – MCSC

Hong Kong - HKRIA

New Zealand – PPNZ Music Licensing

United Kingdom – PRS for Music

United States of America – ASCAP, BMI and SESAC

Each governing body has its own criteria to determine what the cost is for licensing music – be sure to reach out to them to learn about the specific rules and regulations that apply to your territory. Is your country missing from the list? Leave us a comment with your country’s governing PRO and we’ll update the list to include them!

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