Music on hold radio station?

Hello is it possible to play a online radio station when someone is on hold?

Check out this great tutorial:

While it is possible, it most jurisdictions (especially in the US) it is a strict violation of copyright. For more information, you should contact ASCAP/BMI for information on licensing music to be played in “on hold” situations.

Before you look at the prices, I suggest getting a pillow to put on your desk to catch your jaw…

LOL Cynjut i actually been looking into that in the past. The reason is we at work listen to a radio station though the Pa speaker it is setup from another company that provides the music.

Thank you.Vespino.

Radio station rebroadcasting is especially problematic. The prices for playing music over a PA system are actually pretty reasonable, but remember that rebroadcasting Radio Stations is different. In addition to the copyrights of the music, the radio station retains the rights to their broadcasts as well, so unless your vendor has permission and is paying everybody there could still be problems.

In a former life, I worked in radio (I was an assistant station engineer and “on air personality” back in the '70s) and we were constantly on the prowl for people that were using our radio station in a “commercial” situation (waiting rooms, elevators, bars, etc.). The boss actually sued a local car dealer for using our radio station as “background music” without permission. We couldn’t use our own radio station as on-hold music because we didn’t license the music we played for that purpose - we only licensed it for play over the air.

The music industry has some pretty impressive lawyers and laws that protect their investments, so I always try to make sure people are aware of the kinds of trouble they can cause themselves.

For example: using a song without permission in any public forum can result in a lawsuit where the fines (not the damages, just the fine) can be as high as $10,000 per violation. While most copyright holders are reasonable, it only takes one guy to ruin your entire afternoon.

An MP3 player hooked to the Aux In port on your PBX, playing music that you’ve licensed is the only really safe way to do this.

Of course, everyone has different levels of concern about right and wrong, and even legal and illegal.

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i agree, rebroadcasting a radio station is in the US is illegal. and just by the way, connecting an mp3 player with music that has not been licensed to be used as music on hold is also illegal.
there are a number of services that provide you with a box that you can plumb into your system sirrius/xm and others. you pay a fee for the rights to use it INTERNALLY. however they cannot be used for music on hold. in other words playing through the overhead speakers is allowed using these services, but playing as music on hold is not. a relatively inexpensive solution is to get a music on hold license from BMI who has a multi-million song catalog. this allows you to use any of the songs in their catalog for music on hold. the license fee is annual and is based on the number of current plays (max number of people that would be on hold at any one time). i can, if need be, look up our contract with BMI but i think we pay roughly $250/year. what is nice, is that you can continually change the songs. you do have to buy the songs but most are a buck or so on amazon and as long as your license is valid you can play them as music on hold.

I got a hold of the company that plays the music over the pa system and they said they can set it up for the pbx on hold music. They told us to pick a station from there list and they will set it up. There is a extra fee but it ant as bad as I thought it will be. About 40 dollars us more a month. So we all picked the Beatles radio station :slight_smile:

So they also said once a month we can change it. To another station from there list.

Hello bksales so if i buy the song say from itunes or amazon i can play it for onhold music or no? What is BMI? possibly :wink:
(intentionally not lmgtfy’d)

This is not a place for legal advice. Any advice given on these forums should not be considered legal advice. Please consult an attorney for legal questions.


you cannot play songs purchased on itunes or amazon as music on hold without having a license and pay a royalty. however i do believe if you search the internet you might find some royalty free music you might be able to use. There used to be a lot of this (royalty free music) out there, but the companies providing them have gotten smart and have started charging for the privilege.

here is a snippet from the eHow website about BMI and ASCAP

Performance rights organizations (PRO) like ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) and BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) issue performance rights licenses, collect fees from music users, and distribute royalties to music creators and publishers around the world. These rival organizations have a great deal in common as well as some notable differences.

and the link el_es listed is where you want to go. you can quickly and easily sign a contract with BMI. We use BMI, you can also try ASCAP or any other that meets your needs. we found the BMI catalog to be sufficiently robust (millions of songs) for our needs.

and to echo James comment - i am not providing legal advice, simply relaying what we have learned over the years.

Thank you Bksales that help me a lot. Only reason why I’m asking is because there is a button for streaming music. And my boss is asking me the on hold music is well really boring lol So that is why I’m asking. I will research it more carefully to see what we can use or not use. But i did contact the company that does to the Pa audio and they did say they are licensed to do the On hold music from a list that they do have i have to select from that list. But I’m looking more into it. Again thank you all for the help.

well if they are licensing their stuff for MOH and you can plumb their stuff into your pbx you should be golden.

there not live streaming i mean like a normal radio station you here on the radio but they do have list of songs i can select from. It is a extra fee each month but i think it is worth it. The extra fee they say is per location.

Shoutcast has public domain stations. That’s what I use along with the mpg123 example above.