If there’s a better way to get businesses to say, “Fuck you!” and stop playing music for their customers than threatening to sue them for doing so, I don’t know what it would be. Restaurants have been playing music for ages; it’s a free perk for the people eating there.
Oh, but that’s wrong, says the music industry. In some unspecified way, it’s taking money out of the mouths of the artists. The fact that playing your music in a venue like a restaurant is exposing the public to it and may result in additional sales is no excuse, say ASCAP, BMI and the RIAA.
While these industry organizations have been vocal to the point of filing lawsuits against businesses which play music without paying for the privilege, the artists themselves have been strangely silent. Does Mick Jagger really think that some masticators hearing “Satisfaction” for the umpteen billonth time is taking money out of his pocket? Does Tom Jones think “It’s Not Unusual” to sue restaurants for reminding people he’s still alive? Either way, shouldn’t these people open their mouths and say what THEY think about this?
My guess is that this litigiousness will not put Dime One extra into the bank accounts of recording artists. Firstly, the record business is notoriously corrupt, from bottom to top. Secondly, I’m guessing that once restaurants get the word that they can and will be sued for playing music over their P.A. systems, they’ll just turn them off, rather than paying extortionist rates to continue the practice. Net result: recording artists get precisely dick out of this. Twas ever thus.