Music
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Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

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Music
Courtesy Goodwin

For Jaimie Goodwin, finding new music is like a scavenger hunt. Using Spotify's Discover Weekly feature (which recommends new music based on her preferences), she will spend a day listening to playlists, exploring new artists and waiting for inspiration to strike.

"I'll play a ton of songs until one absolutely moves me and I have to rewind," she says. This sweet spot, says Goodwin, who's a faculty member for REVEL Dance Convention and Titans of Dance, tends to be underground artists with raw, gritty vocals and strong bass lines. "I'm usually drawn to authentic music that makes me feel something," she says.

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