Read This Before You Buy Music On Hold (MOH)

Read this before you buy music on hold

Looking to buy music on hold for your business phone system?

Make sure you understand the specifics of licensing and using music on hold.

In this post, we will look at 3 important things you need to know BEFORE you buy any music for your business phone system. Keep reading!

3 important things you must know about music on hold

Unfortunately, you can’t just take your favorite song and use it as hold music in your business.

Here’s why:

1. Music on hold must be formatted in a certain way to work with phone systems

Most phone systems will only accept small files, typically under 4 Mb.

If you simply use the standard audio WAV or MP3 audio file, the chances are it will be too big for most phone systems to use.

Since phone systems are designed for voice, not music, you will need to encode the audio files you want to use for on hold into the special format.

The default phone audio standard is mono 8-bit PCM μ-Law file with a sampling rate of 8Khz.

If you’re not sure how to encode your WAVs or MP3s into that format, don’t worry, here’s a simple step-by-step tutorial:

How to make audio files smaller to use as music on hold

2. You need music license

On hold music is quite common. However, many business owners do not realize that they need a music license.


All recorded music (with the exception of very old recordings that are already in public domain) is copyrighted and owned by someone.

Even if you own the CD or MP3, using music in your business is considered commercial use and requires the permission of the copyright owner (a.k.a. the license).

If you want to use some of the popular top 40 songs, getting that permission can be tricky. Licensing music from indie musicians can be significantly cheaper but still requires tracking down the copyright owners and working out the terms.

To simplify the licensing process, many business owner turn to music libraries that create royalty free music specifically for commercial use.

A quick Web search will get you plenty of music licensing companies to choose from. There are providers for any budget.

When choosing your on hold music provider make sure to pick one that offers royalty free licenses.

The royalty free license will allow you to re-use the music many times without incurring any additional fees.

Of course, we will be thrilled if you consider us as your on hold music provider. Listen to our extensive collection of royalty free on hold music.

3. Some music requires additional performance license

Some musicians are members of performance societies (PROs), so they can collect royalties when their music is performed in public.

When you use PRO registered music for any public broadcast you may need a separate public performance license from the PRO society in your country.

TIP: Use music that isn’t registered with performance rights organizations (PROs) to minimize your licensing costs.

Depending on your country and jurisdiction, on hold music may or may not be considered public performance.

However, our advice is still to avoid using any PRO registered on hold music tracks. Just to be safe!

Free infographic: 3 important things to know about music on hold

3 things you must know before you buy music on hold

Need music on hold?

Here are some on hold music samples that our customers used in their telephone systems:

Listen to our best on hold music (top 10 most popular).


In this post we share 3 important things you need to know before you buy music on hold:

1. Music must be formatted in a special way to work with a telephone system.

2. You must obtain proper license to use copyrighted music in on hold phone systems.

3. Avoid music registered with performance rights organizations to minimize your licensing cost.

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