How Much Does Ascap License Cost

How Much Does an ASCAP License Cost?

Last Updated on December 29, 2023
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Users of musical works have the obligation, before any use of musical works, to obtain from the ASCAP, according to the legislation in force, the non-exclusive license authorization for the use of musical works and to pay remuneration to authors, songwriters, and copyright holders.

With this license, you are allowed to play more than 18 million songs to the public and you have public performance rights.

How Much Does an ASCAP License Cost?

According to the ASCAP, the annual minimum fee for an ASCAP license is around $360. For instance, if your restaurant has a capacity of three hundred people, then you will have to pay around $1,000 per year for the ASCAP license. Keep in mind that this fee will depend on several factors.

According to, ASCAP has its own pricing model. In order to come up with your annual number, you will take the occupancy and multiply it by $3.33.

An article on points out that a coffee shop would have to pay about $620 per year to play live music.

Factors influencing the cost of an ASCAP license

There are several factors that are affecting the cost of an ASCAP license including the admission charge, the type of facility you run, the occupancy, how much music you are playing in your playlists, how is this music played (visual/audio, recorded, or live), the time that the music is played, whether the admission is paid or not, and others.

Also, the potential audience for the music may affect the cost. The rates are the same all over the United States of America, so the geographical location does not influence the costs.

In the tables below you will find the average rates charged by ASCAP for different types of licenses.

Blanket Concert/Recital (based on seating capacity)

Seating Capacity Rate per Year
0 to 2,500 0.92% of gross ticket sales
2,501 to 5,000 0.46% of gross ticket sales
5,001 to 10,000 0.29% of gross ticket sales
10,001 to 25,000 0.23% of gross ticket sales
25,001+ 0.11% of gross ticket sales

Bowling Alley

Specification Rate per Year
Per lane (Minimum Fee) $33.47 ($388.70 minimum)


Specification Rate per Year
Per full-time student (Minimum Fee) $0.40 ($328.90 minimum)

Conventions (based on attendees and per event, not year)

Attendees Rate per Event
Less than 1,500 $143.75
1,501 to 3,000 $504.85
3,001 to 5,000 $842.80
5,001 to 10,000 $1,562.35
10,001 to 20,000 $2,882.05
20,001 to 50,000 $5,768.40
50,001 to 100,000 $8,652.60
More than 100,000 $11,418.35

Dance School (based on students per week and depends on dance instruction)

Students per Week Rate
Less than 75 $78.79 to $157.57
76 to 150 $157.57 to $315.10
151 to 300 $236.33 to $472.67
301+ $315.10 to $630.21

Endurance Events (based on attendees and per event, not year)

Attendees Rate
Under 1,000 $92.00
1,001 to 2,500 $158.70
2,501 to 5,000 $238.05
5,001 to 10,000 $338.10
10,001 to 20,000 $473.80
20,001 to 30,000 $552.65
More than 30,000 $706.10

Ice Skating Rink (based on square footage and depends on admission price)

Square Footage Rate
Up to 10,000 $473.80 to $1,876.80
10,000 to 20,000 $647.45 to $2,807.30
20,000+ $875.30 to $3,780.20

Indoor playground (depends on square footage and admission price)

Square Footage Rate
Less than 7,500 $477.25 to $860.20
7,500 to 15,000 $669.30 to $1,146.05
15,000+ $953.35 to $1,436.35

Private Clubs (based on annual expenditure)

Annual Expenditure Rate
Less than $5,000.00 $177.10
$5,000.00 to $9,999.99 $265.65
$10,000.00 to $14,999.99 $348.45
$15,000.00 to $24,999.99 $525.55
$25,000.00 to $34,999.99 $695.75
$35,000.00 to $49,999.99 $866.10
$50,000.00 to $64,999.99 $1,037.30
$65,000.00 to $79,999.99 $1,309.85
$80,000.00 to $99,999.99 $1,745.70
$100,000.00 to $119,999.99 $2,182.70
$120,000.00 to $139,999.99 $2,618.55
$140,000.00 to $159,999.99 $3,055.55
$160,000.00 to $179,999.99 $3,491.40
$180,000.00 to $199,999.99 $3,928.40
$200,000.00 to $249,999.99 $4,364.25
$250,000.00 to $299,999.99 $4,807.00
$300,000.00 and over $5,237.10

Restaurant, Bar, Nightclubs (per occupant)

Specification Rate
Live music (depends on frequency per week) $5.73 to $6.88
Recorded music $2.66 to $4.01
Other fees may apply based on the formula. Add $2.31 per occupant if cover charge


Specification Rate
Up to three speakers for audio only (each additional, max license) $277.15 ($56.93, $2,321.28 max)

Roller Skating Rinks (depends on square footage and admission price)

Square Footage Rate
1 to 10,000 $278.30 to $2,214.90
10,001 to 15,000 $416.30 to $3,318.55
15,000+ $520.95 to $4,075.60

RV Park/Campground (based on the number of campsites)

Number of Campsites Rate
1 to 99 $312.23
100 to 149 $440.45
150 to 249 $588.80
250 to 349 $763.18
350 and over $952.78

Shopping center (charged daily)

Square Footage Rate
up to 299,999 $50.60
300,000 to 899,999 $69.00
900,000+ $84.53


Specification Rate
Per premise $79.93

Note: These costs are estimative and are subject to change. Also, there may be extra fees depending on the venue.

ASCAP overview

When asking for a quote from ASCAP, you should provide them with information such as how you are going to feature the music and your total occupancy. This may include charging a cover, using live bands, using a non-digital jukebox, featuring a DJ, playing streaming music, broadcasting television shows, and/or playing FM/AM radio. The estimate presented above may be greatly affected by all these factors.

You might also like our articles on the cost of an Alexa device or tickets to the Grammys or BET Awards.

Like filling out a tax form, you will have to input the information and use math formulas to get your annual, daily, or one-time cost.

What are the additional expenses?

Radio ASCAP LicensingDepending on which music you are planning to play, you may need some other licenses aside from the ASCAP, such as SEASAC and BMI. 97% of all music that is played in the United States of America is licensed by ASCAP and BMI, according to the Phoenix New Times.

Typically, if you were to sign up with all three companies, you should take the number you came up with above and multiply it by three.

Important things about the music license

You may get involved in a lawsuit, if you fail to pay ASCAP and get a license. Usually, all organizations will send out representatives undisclosed with recorders, and in case your venue does not have an available music license, you may have to face a lawsuit.

If it is not a commercial account, SiriusXM, Spotify, and Pandora cannot be played inside a commercial venue. These are licensed only for personal use.

Tips for saving money

Take into consideration bypassing the licensing and signing up for a music service that allows you to legally play background music. For instance, the company offers plans for a low monthly fee of about $40 per month.

This service is 100% legal and fully licensed with all GMR, ASCAP, SoundExchange, BMI, and SESAC license fees. Plus, there is no contract required. It may be worth looking into these premium services, if you want to play music legally and, at the same time, you don’t want to worry about signing up with these licensing companies.

The business owner can avoid paying these licensing fees by not playing copyrighted music, but original music from local musicians, copyright-free music, or classical music before 1922.

If your venue is less than two thousand square feet, it is recommended to play radio music in your business. However, in order to be exempt from these charges, you will have to use less than six speakers in a room.

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