Road Runners Club of America

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Group Music License Service

Did you know that if you play music or someone performs at your event, it is considered a “public performance” and you must obtain a music license for the “performing rights” from a “performing rights organization” (PRO)?


BMITo assist our members, the RRCA has negotiated a simple and cost effective group music license with the performing rights organization, BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc).  This new service developed between the RRCA and BMI is a first-of-its-kind in the running industry and will provide RRCA member clubs, events, and event management companies with a simple process to obtain an annual music licenses for events through the RRCA’s group agreement with BMI.

Similarly structured to the RRCA’s group liability insurance program for clubs and events, the RRCA/BMI music license agreement has a clearly outline License Fee Schedule, and the fees assessed are based on total participation for any/all events(s) that the RRCA member owns and will promote during the twelve (12) month period of the calendar year, meaning the license is good for the day of the event(s) for the period of January 1 - December 31.

As part of the 2017 membership system to join or renew membership with the RRCA, clubs, events, and event management companies may select “yes” when asked if they want to pay the fees and be included in the RRCA’s group music license service.  If your organization elects to not utilize the RRCA's insurance program, you MUST contact membership@rrca.org ​to re​quest an invoice for the affiliate membership dues and music license ​fees and provide proof of insurance.  If you report through our membership system directly, you will be charged the insurance fees.

The following outlines the 2017 License Fee Schedule for RRCA members seeking to take advantage of the group music license agreement the RRCA has developed with BMI.

>> An RRCA member club that pays the license fee to the RRCA shall be assessed the fee, pursuant to the License Fee Schedule below, and the fee shall be based on total number of finishers ​in an event for any/all event(s) that the club owns and will promote for the twelve (12) month period. The music license fee ​for subsequent years will be based on the number of finishers for any/all events held by the club the previous year.  For example your club​ owns five events and you have 10,000 participants over all five events, you pay the fee for the 10,000 participant tier.  RRCA member clubs taking advantage of the music license service MUST list their events on the RRCA Calendar.  Failure to do so could result in loosing access to the group music license program

>> An RRCA member event management company that pays the fee to the RRCA shall be assessed the fee, pursuant to the License Fee Schedule below, and based on total ​number ​of participants that start each event that the company will promote for the twelve (12) month period. The music license fee ​for subsequent years will be based on the number of finishers for ​each event ​owned by the event management company from the previous year.

>> An RRCA member event
that pays the fee to the RRCA shall be assessed the fee, pursuant to the License Fee Schedule below, and based on total number of participants that start the event for the one-time-per-year event that will be promoted. The music license fee ​for subsequent years will be based on the number of finishers for ​each event ​owned by the event management company from the previous year.

Members whose total participation numbers exceed 50,000 should contact the RRCA in advance to review fees and eligibility before submitting a request and payment to be included as part of the group music license service.   

License Fee Schedule
Number of Participants in Event
Fee
0 - 1,500
$106
1,501 - 3,000
$258
 3,001 - 4,500
$451
 4,501 - 6,000
$624
 6,001 - 7,500
$830
 7,501 - 10,000
$,1044
 10,001 - 19,999
$1,358
 20,000 - 50,000
$3,221

These fees include a $5 processing fee the RRCA will retain to manage the group music license service.

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Understand Music Licensing - FAQ's

Q: What is a Public Performance and what is the Performing Right? A "public performance" of music is defined in the U.S. Copyright Law as one that takes place outside of a normal circle of friends and family. Songwriters, composers, and music publishers have the exclusive right to play their music publicly and to authorize others to do so under the Copyright Law. This is known as the "Performing Right."  

Q: Who and what are Performing Right Organizations (PROs)? There are three performing right organizations in the United States, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, and their purpose is to license businesses and other entities that publicly perform music in a cost-effective and convenient manner while protecting the performing rights of their respective songwriter, composer and music publisher members and affiliates.  Currently, the RRCA only has a group relationship with BMI.
 
Q: We have a volunteer that creates a playlist from his or her own music, and we play that music during our event at the start/finish line.  Do I need a music license if we are using their CD's, digital music files, or another form of music? Yes, you will need to obtain a music license to play CDs, digital music files, streaming music or another form of music at your event even if a volunteer using their own music developed the play list.  That person does not have the right to share that music in a public space where people have paid an entry fee to participate in an event.
 
Q: Aren't musicians, entertainers (bands on course), and DJ's responsible for obtaining permission for the performance of music at our event?
People mistakenly assume that musicians and entertainers (bands on course), and DJs must obtain licenses to perform copyrighted music. Event organizers cannot shift their responsibility to pay for a music license to musicians, entertainers (bands on course) or DJs. Since it is the event owner who ultimately benefits from the performance or playing of music, it is the event owner who must obtain the license, whether the performance is by a live band, DJ, or otherwise. Music license fees are one of the many costs of putting on an event if music is played.

Q.  We use a music streaming service for business like Pandora for Business, does this cover our event(s)?  Not really.  If your event charges an entry fee and plays music at the start/finish line for participants as part of the overall ambiance of the event, a Pandora for Business license doesn't cover for your event.  You need to obtain a proper event license by utilizing the group music licensing service offered by the RRCA.  There is one caveat for using a system like Pandora for Business, if you host an expo the day before your event that is free and open to the public, you can play music using the Pandora for Business service and special player device.  Keep in mind that you still cannot play music from a personal Pandora account or other personal music streaming service at an expo or a race.

Q. Is the group music license and associated fee now a requirement of RRCA membership?
  No, you are not required by the RRCA to participate in this service offered to members. However, your organization and its leaders must understand that no matter the size of your event, if you play music without a license, your event may be subject to legal action from a PRO if you do not have the appropriate license in place. Judgments from legal actions related to noncompliance with music licensing in other industries have been upwards of $35,000+ in fines and legal fees due.  If you pay the fee one year and neglect or refuse to pay the fee in futures year, but still play music at your event, you may be barred from utilizing the group music service in future years.

Q. Our event takes place in a park or neighborhood where we are not allowed to play music. Do we still have to pay for the music license fee with our RRCA membership or to a PRO? 
No, if you do not play music at your event(s), you do not have to pay the music license fee.  If you host several events and play music at only one event, contact the RRCA before submitting your membership application to determine proper reporting for the purposes of assessing fees for a license under the RRCA’s group agreement with BMI.

Q. We host an event, but we do not charge entry fees to participate in the event. We do play music at the event.  Do we have to have a music license since the event is free of charge?  Yes, if you play music in public, you must obtain permission from the copyright holders, which is mostly efficiently done through a Music License.  However, if your event does not charge an entry fee for participants, you may be eligible for a different/lower rate than the RRCA can offer through our group agreement with BMI.  You may contact BMI directly to see if your event qualifies for a different license with a lower fee structure.

Q. Our organization or event is not a member of the RRCA, can we just pay the license fee and obtain a music license through the RRCA’s group music license service?  No, you cannot just pay the license fee to access this membership benefit.  If your organization is not a member of the RRCA, you must join the RRCA and pay membership dues to be eligible to access the RRCA group music license service.  If your organization or event becomes a dues paying member of the RRCA to access the music license service, you are not required to use the RRCA’s group liability insurance program, but you must provide proof of comparable coverage in the form a Certificate of Insurance or proof of USATF insurance to become a member in good standing of the RRCA. If your organization elects not to utilize the RRCA's insurance program, you MUST contact membership@rrca.org ​to re​quest an invoice for the affiliate membership dues and music license ​fees and provide proof of insurance.  If you report through our membership system directly, you will be charged the insurance fees.

Q. Our company is an RRCA member but we own a variety of event formats including triathlons and obstacle runs.  Are all event formats allowed as part of this group music license service between RRCA and BMI?  No, not all event formats are included as part of this group music license agreement. RRCA members seeking a music license through the RRCA’s group shall not include professional or collegiate track and field type events open to participants only through qualification or invitation, obstacle races, mud runs, color runs, or triathlons. Covered events through the RRCA’s agreement with BMI are defined as running events with humans running and/or walking, and other similar events where the participation in the event is open to the general public, including events that hold a lottery open to the general public to allow participants to register for the event, a registration fee is charged to participate, and which includes music, whether or not music is the principal type of entertainment which occurs, and which is held within the United States of America, its territories and possessions.  Running events shall include events of varying distances that take place on the road, track, or trails including dash events, track events, 1mile races, 5K events, 10K or longer events, half and full marathons, ultramarathons (over 26.2 miles), cross country events, relay style events, and fun runs, including charitable event(s) sponsored by charitable organizations or for charitable purposes.

Q. Our club assists other events with finish line management, can we extend the music license to non-owned events we assist?  NO - you definitely cannot extend your club's music license to events the club does not own.  This is just like the fraudulent transfer of RRCA insurance to a third party.  Simply put - don't do it or your club will be barred from access to the group music service.

Q. We post promotional videos of our event(s) or stream our start/finish on YouTube/Facebook/Instagram/Twitter and our event music can be heard in the background.  Is this okay?  ​No, the music license is for your event day and does not grant you broadcast rights over social media.  The social media site may take down your video if music is detected.  If you play music via social media, you need to contact BMI about a broadcast license.

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