Can I use copyrighted music for on hold?

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 11:55 am

~ This was posted on - December 19, 2008

Recently, wanted to use “Riders in Sky”, a popular 70’s song, as background music to their on-hold production. It made sense: their businesses is satellite telephones, but it costs money… sometimes big money.

The American Society of Composers, Arrangers, and Producers manage the copyrights on the vast majority of American-origin songs. If you use a copyrighted song for the purpose of enhancing your business in anyway – you owe the composer and performer money; and ASCAP manages that legal responsibility. See also

There’s no guarantee that they will find you out if you decide to violate the copyright, but I can say that the bigger you are – the more likely you are to get fined. Copyright management can seem heavy handed

, and rudely applied (

their legal case is bulletproof. Whomever you use for custom-on-hold messaging, make sure their copyrights are in order.

A bad option: Even playing the radio for your on-hold is technically illegal, as you are rebroadcasting music for the purpose of enhancing your business without paying for it.

For more information about using copyrighted music, see our FAQ section at

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