Licensing Music Guide in Videoke Machine Businesses

3.) Sound recording (master recording) – this is the right to use the original sound recording copyright of the song. Most videoke disc projects do use the original minus one soundtrack produced/released by the major label and not by them. So in this case, the videoke disc producer/creator should pay the associating licensing fees to the recording label or the owner of the sound recording copyright.

However if the video disc producer is not planning to use original recordings but instead produce MIDI version of the minus-one (which is very common). Then there is no need to secure sound recording copyright license.

You also noticed that these projects do use original soundtracks and videos, so the producers should pay the associating licensing fees to the label.

4.) Print rights – this is the right to use the lyrics and printed to a hard copy format. Not all videoke projects includes the printed copy of the lyrics so this is not required.

5.) Public performance rights – finally when the videoke machine is shipped to the customer(the owner of the business establishments where the videoke machine will be used), it will be used by the public. Public performance is the right to publicly perform the music. The music played by the videoke machine are copyrighted therefore the owner of the business establishment should secure public performance license.

It is important that you read this post on public performance music license important information so that you will know this right in detail.

The licensing cost depends on your country public performance society. For details about the computation, you can contact the public performance organization in your country. This is FilScap in Philippines or ASCAP, BMI, SESAC in the US. For other foreign nations, you can refer to this list here.

If you are an owner of videoke machine and you are not paying public performance license fee to these organizations, then you are illegally operating the videoke machine in your business. Contact the public performance society in your country and secure proper public performance license.


All in all, there are 5 music rights that are involved in the videoke music business. As you have noticed:

a.) The videoke machine business owner or operator – would be responsible for paying the public performance license fee to the public performance right societies. There are some blankets licensing fee program wherein you only pay a single amount to use the entire song represented by the society (as opposed to paying per song). I cannot provide much details on this, please contact the society.

b.) The manufacturer of the videoke machine – should be responsible that any copyrighted music used in the machine should be properly licensed. For example, if the manufacturer decides to provide some VCD/DVD or discs to the videoke operator, then the manufacturer should ensure that their supplier (e.g. DVD videoke creator) is licensing the material properly from the music publishers. In some cases, the manufacturer may want the DVD creator to show some proof of license to make sure the music is licensed legally.

c.) The producer of the video CD, DVD Discs used in the videoke machine – needs to pay mechanical, master recording, sync and print right licensing fees to the music publisher of the songs. If you are a supplier of DVD used in videoke machine and you are not doing any of these licensing activities, then you are illegally operating your business.

Disclaimer: I’m not an entertainment lawyer and cannot provide legal advice to you. If you think you have some issues pertaining to these things. Then better contact an entertainment lawyer to answer your needs. The information in this article does not constitute legal advice.

Content last updated on July 24, 2012