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9 Things You Didn’t Know About Music On Hold and Music Copyright

5 November 2017


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If you use a CD, MP3 Player or even play your favourite radio station to your clients and clients-to-be while they are on the phone waiting, you could be in for a very rude shock…and an expensive one at that.

It is easy to establish the rights to a song or piece of music, and very difficult to avoid paying for the right to use it as your music on hold.

The 9 little-known aspects of music on hold are…

  1. Copyright is free and automatic. As soon as a person creates a new song or piece of music, they have copyright in it.
  2. Composers/owners do not need to register their songs with regulatory bodies such as APRA/AMCOS, to have their rights protected.
  3. Songs are protected by copyright, even without the  symbol (this only shows who owns the song).
  4. Songwriters/composers own the right to have a recording of their music used by a business, including phone calls on hold.
  5. Buying legitimately purchased music (eg. a CD) only gives you the right to own the physical disc, play it privately and pass the disc on…it does NOT extend to use of the music commercially.
  6. All public performances of music must be licensed. You might think that playing music to your clients via a phone call is a private performance, however, music on hold has legally been deemed a public performance.
  7. Fines for infringing copyright aren’t just ‘one-offs’…they are based on the number of phone lines you are running, and on the number of locations.
  8. According to Music Rights Australia, “individuals can be fined up to $60,500 and serve up to 5 years’ imprisonment for each offense. For companies, the fines are up to 5 times as much.”
  9. Even if you use an on-hold service, the onus is still on YOU to ensure that all music played is licensed.

So how do you legally use Message on Hold music?

If you’d like to stay within the law and promote your business professionally, we have the perfect solution.

The answer? Licensed music from McGirvanmedia Messages On Hold (the cost is covered with your Message on Hold Service Fee).

At McGirvanmedia, we own ALL of the music we offer you, from composition right through to actual recording…therefore there is never any danger of a copyright lawyer in a shiny suit tapping you on the shoulder.

For more information about music on hold, musical copyright, or messages on hold generally, the friendly team of professionals at McGirvanmedia would be delighted to hear from you.

Call us now on 1800 777 428 or simply contact us and we’ll get straight back to you.  

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