From the smallest of business to the doctors surgery to the large corporation, Music On Hold has now become an indispensable tool for keeping clients on the telephone while tasks are carried out or someone is made available to talk to them. Not surprisingly, a survey in the US found that 70% of callers hang up within one minute if they are subjected to silence. Messages of assurance or of an informative nature are also becoming increasingly important both for public and private sector services and businesses.
Get Music On Hold offers a number of MOH solutions including music collections and individual tracks from styles ranging from classical to contemporary. Message of assurance can also be purchased with or without Music On Hold pieces. Additionally, none of our Music On Hold collection is registered with government royalty collection agencies, such as ASCAP or PRS, so when purchased you are fully licensed to use your Music On Hold immediately without any future bills to worry about.
You can browse our music catalogue by category or alternatively use the product search box above to instantly search our entire catalogue. Many different musical styles and genres are catered for to ensure you can find the music you need. We only use accomplished musicians and composers with proven track records to ensure all our music is of the highest quality. Our music is available for instant download in either MP3, G.711 or high quality WAV format. We also sell Audio CDs of all our Music On Hold compilations.
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What Is Music On Hold?
Simply put, Music On Hold is music that is automatically played when you are put ‘on hold’ whilst on the telephone. The obvious reason for this is to help keep you entertained while you wait to be connected to the service you require. Such music, these days, is usually interspersed with vocal messages of assurance, information or advertisements.
A Short History Of Music On Hold
Music On Hold is a fairly recent discovery/invention and was patented by Alfred Levy in 1966. Due to a technical fault with the phone system at his factory he noticed that there was music playing continuously and that anyone who picked up a phone at the factory could hear the music as well as the person at the other end of the line, who could also hear the music.
He discovered that a loose wire from the phone system was touching one if the buildings’ steel girders, this in turn was acting as a aerial that was picking up a local radio station and allowing the radio station to be heard whenever anyone picked up the telephone at the factory.
Being an Inventor and entrepreneur, Alfred realised the potential of his discovery and set about developing the hardware to allow music to be played whilst people were put on hold on the telephone.
Music On Hold Equipment and Formats
Although the technology has developed greatly over the last forty years for utilizing Music On Hold, the setup, theoretically, is largely unchanged. The simplest set up involves a radio, CD player or MP3 player which is fed via a jack or phono plug into the telephone system (PBX or IP PBX); when someone is put on hold their phone speaker is switched to the audio feed coming from the music source.
CD players are now slowly being phased out and professional MP3 players are becoming very common. MP3 players have no moving parts as the music is stored on internal memory chips and/or USB memory sticks and SD memory Cards. Such external memory devices give the user simple ways to manage their music and MOH messages on local computers.
Another MOH playback device is a Streaming Music On Hold Messaging Player, essentially is still an MP3 player but it streams MOH messages and music, often wirelessly, via your internet router from companies that run MOH servers.
What is a PBX?
Private Branch Exchange (PBX) also known as a Private Automated Branch Exchange (PABX) is a telephone exchange system that is used within a business or company. This system manages incoming and outgoing calls and is connected to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). Among other recent developments is IP PBX which is a software based PBX using the Internet Protocol, it is able to perform more complicated tasks than PBX.
Your MOH player connects to the PBX or IP PBX.
Where can you source MOH?
- MOH CDs – can include voice-overs if needed.
- Radio – this requires a license and you have no control over what music is played.
- Normal commercial CDs – this also requires a license.
- Exclusive MOH – music composed exclusively for a company
- Online MOH – software based system that allows voice overs/company information/ advertisements to be included with the MOH thus avoiding monotonous messages and enabling information to be dispersed.
- Streaming MOH – URL based MOH services providers, with dynamic voiceover options as well.
- Free On Hold Programs – free software that offers similar options as Online MOH.
Consumer Studies for MOH
Several consumer studies have been carried out in recent years. They aimed to clarify the benefits of Music On Hold and also to study the perceptions and the behaviour of the public with regards to being put on hold.
A UK study by PH Media Group found that 7 out of 10 callers are put on hold for 50 percent of their calls. Over 7 out of 10 consumers who had been put on hold preferred to hear something, i.e. music or speech rather than nothing or phone noises. Over 7 out of 10, put on hold, also mentioned that they preferred to hear something other than music.
The same survey also found that, in general, upto 40 percent of people calling businesses were not satisfied with their treatment on the phone. A staggering 73 percent would not call a business again they felt their initial call was badly managed.
Over half of people surveyed thought that companies using custom made music and bespoke information messages came across as more professional. The same amount extended this sentiment to feeling as if they were more valued by the business.
A CNN survey carried out in the United States of America found that 7 out of 10 people hang up after one minute if they hear only silence and 3 out of ten of them will not call back. CNN also found that in the US your average person can spend upto sixty hours a year on hold.
North American Telecom found that consumers put on hold who could listen to music were likely to stay on the line 30 seconds longer than those only hearing silence.
An interesting business to business perspective was discovered by an OfficeTeam Survey: executives spend an average seventeen minutes on hold per day.
Copyright and Performance Laws
In North America and Western Europe the law protects the copyrights of composers and this means companies need permission to use copyrighted music for Music On Hold purposes. Usually this permission is obtained from performance rights societies, such as ASCAP, BMI or PRS, where a license is bought relating to the size and kind of usage.
Often, such licenses are paid for on an annual basis. Some companies may use a Blanket License that allows them to use any piece of music that is registered in, for example, ASCAP’s catalog. Even using radio for MOH still requires permission from performance rights societies. Enforcement is strict and failing to respect copyright law can be a costly error.
Music in the Public Domain i.e. Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer is no longer under copyright. As a general rule of thumb music in the Public Domain is where the composer has been deceased for over 70 years. Does this mean a company can use The Entertainer without permission? Yes and no. The rights of the composer are no longer protected but rights of the recordings are, these are called mechanical rights. Most recordings have mechanical rights, they may be owned by a record company, a publisher or an individual. Therefore permission is still required to use a specific recording if it has mechanical rights.
Importantly, MOH providers often own the mechanical rights to their music catalog and choose not to register them with royalty collection societies. This means that they can license their music directly to businesses, usually at very competitive rates without royalty collection societies ever being involved. For example, Get Music On Hold owns a recording of The Entertainer, a one-off purchase gives a company an absolute license (for seventy five years) to use The Entertainer as Music On Hold.