Your music, your choice… or is it?

I’m sure we will all agree that delivering group exercise classes without music would be a very uninspiring affair, and as fitness professionals, who do this job to earn an income, it’s fair to say that music plays a major role in helping you achieve this. Therefore, it’s important that you have the knowledge and support to enable you to deliver the best experience possible for your class participants and also ensure you are professional in what you are doing when it comes to using music. 

I have written quite a few blogs about music copyright but after a recent survey with a number of instructors, I thought it might be helpful to reiterate a few things, as there is still a great deal of misunderstanding out there… or maybe convenient thinking!

The first thing to say is that you, as an individual, can use music in two ways- personally or professionally! In a personal capacity, you can listen to it at home, in the car, on a run, or you can invite friends round for a party, turn the volume up and blast out your favourite tunes. The point here is that you are not making any money from any of the above, it is for your personal use, whether you are playing an album you have bought or using your subscription to Spotify or Apple Music. This is called the primary use of music. The artist made an album and you have bought it or paid to stream it for your pleasure, it’s all good. However, the minute you use the same music as part of your fitness classes, as a fitness professional, the rules change, as you are now making money from someone else’s music. This is called the secondary exploitation of music.

So, the first thing to be aware of is you cannot use Spotify or Apple Music to play music in a professional capacity, these platforms are not licensed to enable you to do this. Check out Spotify’s terms of use here

Secondly, there is a general misunderstanding when it comes to licence free music. If you are using any music in your group exercise class and you are not paying any performance fees to PPL  (£2.00 per class) and PRS (£2.10 per class) then you have to have permission from both the artist (or record label) and the songwriter (or music publisher). Also be aware that PPL free music doesn’t mean there is no copyright. There is still the PRS element to pay. The Pure Energy GO range of music is an example of music where you have the permission to use it professionally without paying any additional fees as we have included all the rights.

As a fitness professional, it is entirely up to you to decide what music you play in your classes and how you play it, and ultimately it’s your call whether you choose to flaunt the law! It’s our job at Pure Energy to work with you to make sure, you are informed and you have choice. 

So as we kick off the New Year I wanted to let you know how Pure Energy can support you.

  • Join our Pure Energy GO music service and app for £19.99 per month and get access to all our GO catalogue on demand. This gives you a hassle free solution with no hidden costs, as all our music rights are included.
  • Buy downloads as you need them and play them via the PE Play App, or your computer. This includes all our range. 
  • Buy from our copyrighted range of music featuring known artists past and present
  • Choose from our PPL free range

As music is so integral to your fitness classes it is important that you know what you can and can’t do, so you don’t one day get caught out. It’s no different to ensuring you are compliant when it comes to having insurance.

The relationship between the music industry and the fitness industry is changing as record labels and music publishers look for new ways to generate revenue to replace the loss of physical record sales, and so greater scrutiny is happening towards fitness instructors and gyms as ultimately it’s big business!

It’s worth remembering that if you are delivering group exercise classes, as a community instructor or a gym, you are probably advertising your timetable on your website and social media, so probably worth making sure you know what you can and can’t do and you are covered should someone wander into your class and ask to see your licence! 

I hope this article has been helpful and we are always here to help and advice.

Check out all our products and services at here

Andy Pickles


You can find us, follow us, like us, over at Instagram, Facebook, Youtube

Leave a Reply