House concerts were popular in the days when musicians had few places where they could perform in front of an audience. Now, some are returning to this practice to make extra cash without the risk of high overheads and venue fees – and are successfully hosting paid performances in residential homes.
However, it’s important to be informed about the licensing requirements of this type of event – even if you plan to perform your own music to an audience in your own home.
Everyone is entitled to make personal use of music within his or her home. However, if you’re regularly hosting performances and charging some sort of entrance fee, it clearly qualifies as a commercial use of rights-protected music. In such a case, you would need a licence.
The good news is that it is easy to apply and pay for your music usage licence through SAMRO’s Licensing Department. There’s a standard licence structure in place for this type of usage. You simply need to fill in a licensing form and let SAMRO know how many people are expected to attend the performance and provide a detailed playlist of the music you intend to use. From there, SAMRO will work out the appropriate licence fee.
At this point you may be thinking: why should musicians have to pay to play their own music? First of all, each musical work may have multiple rights holders in addition to the primary composer. This could include authors of lyrics, music publishers and others in the value chain. They should also receive royalties whenever their music is used publicly.
This is why SAMRO encourages every member to be aware of the music that is used at every venue they attend. No matter how small the event, you should notify SAMRO if you think someone has made public use of rights-protected music.
SAMRO works to protect your rights whenever others use your music. Should a member also become a user of music, by paying your licence fee you, by the same token, are contributing to a culture of fairness and acknowledgement of the value of copyright.
Furthermore, let’s envisage a scenario where the police respond to a noise complaint at your house concert – not an unusual occurrence at rocking house parties, if you’re performing music, they are likely to request to see your music licence. You could be in trouble if you don’t have the correct documentation, which is something we all want to avoid.
Extracting more value from music is extremely important in the current economy. SAMRO welcomes every new idea that assists in generating income for members and music users alike. Doing so in the correct way will ensure a strong music industry.