Radio on hold or playing you’re favorite music cd. Why not? It’s free, right? Wrong! Under federal law, playing the radio on hold is a “public performance” of copyrighted material. So is playing CD’s or tapes. This makes you liable for annual license fees starting at hundreds of dollars, payable to ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, the policing agencies of the music business. Failing to pay these fees can subject you to fines upwards to $100,000 for each song played.
These fees are a profit center for the agencies, and they take the law seriously. So the dogs are out, and with every organization trying to reel in fees don’t be surprised if your business is next to receive a letter from ASCAP or other industry organizations asking for music licensing fees. You had pay attention – they may have the right to demand fees and they’re definitely not fooling around.
One company recently received just that letter, warning them of potential hefty fines. This company was being called out because they want to use music on hold for their hold button. Does music on hold require a license? You bet it does, and if you are not paying for the rights to play that music, it may be very costly! On Hold Inc takes care of this coverage as part of your service with us.
The company being asked for licensing money will not have to pay, because their music on hold is properly licensed in what is played on hold, which is a custom on hold message production from On hold Inc.
If you think this is like speeding on the highway, where you may have gotten away with it thousands of times, I bet you can think of at least once instance where the boys in blue with their bubble gum lights on have wanted to check your odometer when it was time to reel in some fines and they pulled you over. This is no different. These organizations are seeking to generate revenues by policing the industry more fiercely than ever before. So when you least expect it, you may just very well find yourself being pulled over for speeding, and it won’t be by the inept Barnie Fife either.
So, if you are considering putting music on hold system on your telephones, remember that unless you use a competent provider, you will be ‘on the hook’ to pay ASCAP as well as other licensing organizations including BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated) and SESAC.