The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) is charging hair salons a minimum of $95 a year for the privilege of playing music in their salons. Apparently they already had a blitz last year on dentists, and this year they are turning their attention to hair salons.
Most hair salons (and presumably most dentists) have no idea they should be paying this "licence fee", and are justifiably upset.
And why would they know about it? It is one of the more ridiculous examples of the music industry's desparate attempts to claw back royalties.
Even more ridiculous is the rule that salons would also be charged for playing a radio if they play it over a sound system, but not if they play it on a standard radio.Yes, I am aware of the arguments surrounding the whole royalties/downloading/performance issue. But if the hairdresser has paid good money for a CD, isn't that the end of the story? They are not charging their customers for the music they play, or in any way profiting from it.
Arguably the hairdresser is just playing it for his/her own enjoyment, and the presence of a customer is neither here nor there.
And where does this all end? How is this different from when I play a CD in my own home for a group of friends?
Now, if they were to charge supermarkets for playing those appalling "easy listening" radio stations, I would be much more in favour.