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BMI Looks to Collect Hold Music Fees

BMI Logo.

Easy On Hold offers only properly licensed hold music for callers waiting on-hold. If your office is playing on music on your phone hold button and you're not sure if it is properly licensed, take a moment to review this information. Radio or CD music on hold must be licensed. If you have a custom made on hold message production in use on your phone lines, it is your responsibility to be an informed consumer.

You might have heard about collection activities undertaken by ASCAP in order to get cash for playing music on hold. They aren't the only music licensing group out there knocking on doors. BMI is one of the other licensing organizations in the U.S., and they're looking to collect fees for playing music in your business.

Recently an Easy On Hold client contacted us for help with inquiries made by BMI. Here's a look at the email from the accounting department:

"We continue to get pestered by BMI, they are a music licensing organization. Easy on Hold actually references them in their literature. The latest call from BMI basically is saying that just because you buy hold music, it doesn't mean that you don't owe licensing fees. I have no idea how this works, but I would suggest you reach out to your contact at Easy on Hold, and see what the law is on this. Chief Financial Officer"

The Myth Behind Royalty Free Music

Actually, BMI is right: just because you buy hold music does not mean that you don't owe licensing fees. This is a big myth behind "royalty free music". You may be purchasing music that is free of mechanical royalties (meaning you can copy it, download it, manipulate it), but it may not include performance rights. These performance rights are the fees BMI is attempting to collect here.

Rest assured, Easy On Hold is on top of this, and is paying performance fees on behalf of all of our clients. Note also that BMI and ASCAP are both very active in seeking fees and fines. Apparently, licensing organizations do no research prior to contacting a business to request money. This means they are randomly calling any business that looks as though they could come up with some form of payment.

If you are contacted by a licensing organization, talk to your music on hold provider directly. If your provider cannot come up with a written contract showing satisfaction of performance fees, fire them and hire Easy On Hold.

Issue Resolved

This issue was quickly resolved by the Easy On Hold Music On Hold Expert providing written proof of performance rights. The response from the client:

"Talked with Julie from Easy On Hold. She provided the document which verifies legitimacy of the license, etc. Thank you for your prompt and courteous support. EOH is one of my favorite vendors. -Theresa"