Did you know that playing the radio as your message on hold is illegal!?!

Did you know that playing the radio as your message on hold is illegal!?!

Being on hold is great isn’t it? Especially when you get to listen to your favorite artists like Justin Timberlake, Carrie Underwood, or Ke$ha. But did you know that playing the radio for your on hold music is actually illegal?!?! Well, t’s illegal if you aren’t paying licensing fees to ASCAP, BMI and/or SESAC.

Below are some common questions about radio music for on hold from the BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) website:

Q: Our Music-On-Hold System Only Uses Programming From Local Radio Stations. Aren’t The Stations Already Licensed?

A: Though radio stations are licensed with BMI to perform the music they broadcast, that agreement does not cover further public performance by those receiving the radio broadcast signal. When radio music is used in music-on-hold, that use is a separate performance under the copyright law.

Q: We Use Our Own Tapes, CDs Or Audio Files On Our Telephone. Isn’t This Our Private Property To Play Where And When We Like?

A: Although, most people buy tapes, CDs, and audio files thinking they are now their property, there is a distinction in the law between owning a copy of the songs and owning the actual songs. The music on the tapes, CDs and audio files still belongs to the songwriter, composer, or music publisher of the work. When you buy a tape or CD, the purchase price covers only your private listening use, similar to the “home” use of “home” videos. Once you decide to play these tapes, CDs, or audio files in your business, it becomes a public performance.

Songwriters, composers, and music publishers have the exclusive right of public performance of their musical works under the U.S. copyright law. Therefore, any public performance requires permission from the copyright owner — or BMI — if it is BMI-licensed music. With a BMI Music License, you can publicly perform all BMI-licensed music.

Problem: So, you are playing radio music for your on hold. Crap! That’s illegal! Don’t worry Atlantic OnHold has the solution!

Solution: Atlantic OnHold has the use of licensed music from an extensive library! Do we have Justin Timberlake or Jason Derulo? No, but we do have a wide variety of genres ranging from classical jazz to country. So you can either contract with BMI, SESAC and ASCAP to pay the monthly fees based on your call traffic or you can let Atlantic OnHold help! 

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