Finding The Perfect “On-Hold” Music
Whether you have a large company or a small business on Main Street expanding your customer service call-in line, you’re likely either thinking of just having repeated messages, or better yet, looking for the best on-hold music for people to listen to.
But looking for music to play is a bit dicey these days, especially with artists and the copyright offices coming down hard on people who replay music over the air illegally. So, while it might be tempting to pull out your phones or MP3 players and play the stuff you have on those devices, that’s considered “rebroadcasting,” and it’s illegal.
Replaying Music & The ‘Copyright Police’
“How is it illegal?” you may be asking. Good question. Sure, you might have purchased the music, but replaying the music over your on-hold service without asking permission, etc, means that the artists won’t get royalties for their work, and to be fair, they are professional musicians. Music is what they do for a living, and if they’re not super-popular, Top-40 artists, they may not get as much money as you might think they do, even if their music is truly amazing.
Plus, if you replay music without permission, you can easily be slapped with a hefty lawsuit, and don’t think that just because you’re a small business that the “copyright police” won’t find you at all. They will, eventually, especially since they’ve been trying to crack down on smaller businesses as well as the large ones. Your business, as well as your reputation, will be in jeopardy, and we don’t think you want that. So it pays to get, and stay, legal with any music you use, from on-hold tunes to marketing videos.
“So, what are my options for properly licensed music?”
One option might be playing an FM radio station aimed at your demographic but guess what? You are obligated to pay royalties for that music too. ASCAP and BMI, the 2 agencies tasked with tracking that stuff can fine you for using “their” music without permission.
Another option might be the best of all, to you and your customers: Royalty-free, legally licensed music. “Wait, how does that work?” Glad you asked!
There are two types of royalty-free licenses: Standard, and Creative Commons. The Creative Commons license, which is free of charge, is something of an “open-source” or “fair use” license aimed at amateur video or film makers, or other audiovisual artists not seeking to make money just yet, if at all.
The Standard License for royalty-free music, however, is for businesses, and usually it tends to be a reasonable price. FreeMusicPublicDomain has this particular license on offer for about $25. Also, they have lots of great tunes on their site that could be used as “on-hold music,” but they do, however, have a particular selection of works that might just have your customers thinking they don’t mind being put on hold.
Most of the tracks on their “On-hold music” page are down-tempo, chill or jazzy, and certain to lower anyone’s blood pressure and help them calm down, but one song is fairly up-tempo and will put listeners in a happy, silly mood.
How the process works: Select the song you want, complete the license purchase via Paypal, and then return to the license page to download the license agreement. It’s just that simple, and since it’s only $25 per song, you can get quite a bit of music for all your needs, whether it’s any kind of “telephone-wait” situation, or even your marketing video efforts. If you’re a relatively new company, you can even get a jump on the holiday “on-hold” music, as FreeMusicPublicDomain.com has a Christmas category.
With a standard license and royalty-free music, you’ll have the best of both worlds: Great music for customers to listen to, and no legal worries on your end.