When you’re pulled over for rolling through a stop sign (“I’m sorry, officer; was there a stop sign there?”), you’re asked to produce a driver’s license. It’s standard procedure and expected if you want to drive a car. If you don’t have a license, you can look forward to heavy fines. The same is true when you use music on hold or overhead in your store without proper music licensing. That’s right: you can look forward to heavy fines.
Companies that are looking to save money may choose to route their phones through a system to play CDs, local radio stations, or satellite or Internet radio. This option may seem free now, but the truth is that the fines you can incur by not paying for music licensing can be into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
You may wonder why you need to pay licensing fees for sharing music with your customers. Essentially, everyone has to pay to replay that music; that’s one of the ways in which recording artists make their money. To be sure that you’re in compliance, the best option is to go through a company that is a member of the On-hold Messaging Association, who will be in compliance with all licensing agreements.
A company that creates on-hold messages also can provide music-only service for your customers on hold. In addition, many companies also play overhead music at a retail location (for which you also need licenses).
So no matter why or where you’re playing music for your customers, be sure that you are covering your bases and have your licenses. Otherwise, you could be needing an attorney and some deep pockets.