Music While You Work
Valentine’s Day has come and gone again for another year and many of us will have experienced a romantic interlude of some kind that may have led to, well you know, er … relations and that sort of thing.
Picture the scene if you will. The evening is drawing to a close, the lights are dimmed, the mood is mutually amorous, a CD is playing a slushy soft rock track and then … the car windscreen mists up, one of the electric windows is accidentally activated and an icy blast of Arctic wind with snow flurries mixed in blows away the magic moment. Ah well, as the song goes, the things we do for love …. including it would seem even if you are a giant tortoise.
In the bizarrely unlikely setting of London Zoo, a pair of Galapagos tortoises have been treated (more like subjected) to a live performance by the once hugely popular and now largely forgotten French pianist, Richard Clayderman, in a serious attempt to get them in the mood for luurrve and hopefully to eventually lead to the patter of very slow and tiny tortoise feet. A cabaret version of “Chariots of Fire” as a tortoise aphrodisiac? What will they think of next?
It is hard to imagine a more off-putting scenario if you are an amorous tortoise than having Monsieur Clayderman tinkling his ivories with his latest album track when you are trying to get your partner to come out of her shell! Firstly, you can’t turn the music off as you are trapped in a cage and secondly, even a tortoise needs a little bit of privacy for that sort of thing. There should be a law against it!
Well, as it happens, there is a law relating to the playing of music in the workplace. There are two separate organisations which have the responsibility for issuing the appropriate licences and for the collection of music-related royalties from the likes of employers who play music to their staff and/or customers. They are:
- Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL), representing the interests of the record company and the actual performer.
- Performing Right Society Ltd (PRS for Music), representing the interests of the writer and publisher of the music from the UK and around the world.
Under the Copyright Designs and Patents 1988 (as amended), if you play music in public, even if it is Richard Clayderman, then you will need to be licensed to do so by either or both of the above bodies. The law affects the following types of premises:
- Churches (church halls used for exhibitions and one-off events)
- All government buildings (concert venues)
- Cinemas and theatres
- Educational establishments (music featured in school plays)
- Events and exhibitions (museums and galleries)
- Health and beauty venues (background music and TV)
- Holiday parks (holiday centres, discos and quizzes)
- Leisure sport and fitness locations (dance classes and aerobics)
- Offices and factories (including telephone music on hold, waiting rooms and reception areas)
- Bars, pubs and nightclubs (dancehalls, nightclubs and discos)
- Restaurants and cafés (one off events, jukeboxes and radio or background music)
- Shops and stores (background music, listening posts and touch screen kiosks)
- Social and members’ clubs (bingos and other games)
- Public transport (boats, coaches and ships)
The productivity benefits of music in the workplace are however well documented. So, are you thinking of playing or do you currently play music to help to relax your staff or customers and to help them to be more productive? If you are unsure of how your business will be affected by any decision to play music at work, do please ask a Qdos HR adviser.
Just one word of warning, though. Like the tortoises at London Zoo, Qdos staff can themselves occasionally be rather sluggish in their movement during their working day. The recent decision to play “Barry White’s Greatest Hits” during working hours was therefore only taken after considerable thought. The aftermath was however a little messy to say the least but staff morale did rise considerably and some staff are now working much more closely together.
Better to stick to Richard Clayderman after all!
If you need help with your employment law issues please contact us.