Have you ever been walking through a tradeshow only to be diverted by the onslaught of a loud steady hip-hop beat from a booth three rows away? It’s happened to me a few times.
Typically, if music at a booth is too loud, neighbors will complain and it won’t take long for the music volume level to drop to acceptable levels, whether voluntarily or through enforcement by show organizers.
So does all music at a show rub people the wrong way? And with thousands of exhibitors won’t low-volume music get lost in the hustle and bustle?
Perhaps, but there are ways music can be used effectively. At a recent show I was drawn to a light reggae beat emanating from inside a small structure. When I stepped through the door I was treated to Bob Marley’s ‘Jammin’’ and I was treated to a small art display that enhanced the exhibitor’s image.
Across the show floor at another booth my ears detected new age music that was barely audible from ten feet away – but it sounded perfectly appropriate for the product on display and added to the overall booth ambiance.
In both cases the music was unobtrusive and supported the client’s image. If you’re going to consider music as a background for your tradeshow it should do both.
What About the Legalities?
Not being a lawyer, but at least being familiar with the licensing requirements of ASCAP and BMI, it’s my understanding that any event or venue that features licensed music is required to pay a fee. For instance, if you play a radio over your on-hold system, technically you’re required to pay a licensing fee. Same at a restaurant, bar or other gathering place where pre-recorded music might be played – or a live band for tha matter. If you play music in your booth at a tradeshow, often the event organizers or convention operators will have a license to cover that performance.
If you want to play music at your booth, check with the show organizers first and see if they’re covered. If they’re not, check with your company legal advisor. If they determine you should cover your legal you-know-what, purchasing a performance license is relatively cheap.