Monday, November 05, 2007

Hold Music

Here's an interesting use of ccMixter music from fitrans.blogspot. : )

With our recent office move we've finally ended up with a Server close enough to the phone system that we can do away the the double-beeps and actually get some hold music cooking. Sure we could have bought some cheap radio and stuck it in the closet and let it spew out the local light-pop radio station... but, well, eww.

To spice things up a bit we'll be rotating through some of the tracks we like off of, a great site dedicated to people collaboratively sharing & creating music, all under a CreativeCommons license.


spinmeister said...

is that a legit application of cc licensing?

Personally I doubt it (although I'm not a lawyer).

* it's on-hold music for a commercial enterprise

* the attribution is rather far removed from the music (personal blog of one of the company founders/leaders), so essentially there is no attribution.

By analogy, what would people say, if somebody like a McDonalds starts piping ccMixter music into their restaurants? Legit, too?

teru said...

"is that a legit application of cc licensing? "

I have no idea. It didn't even occur to me. I figured it's a battle against crappy hold music more than anything. ;)

Does it qualify as commercial use? Even the RIAA (or equivalent) doesn't go after people for hold music, or do they?

spinmeister said...

you'd be surprised

teru said...

Yeah unfortunately not that surprised. : (

Ryan said...

Hey guys,

I considered the CC license before I a) used the music and b) posted the attribution post.

I use this license all the time for my photos on Flickr and viewed this as very similar to the usage of my images by blog sites etc. that have a commercial purpose but do not charge for access to the content etc.

If you read the legalese version of the CC license it's also fairly clear that this usage doesn't fall under what would be considered "commercial" usage. Clause 4b speaks to it specifically.

4c speaks to attribution and again this method of attribution would in many cases be considered practical and reasonable.

That said, if any of the artists don't want the music used I'll happily take if out of rotation.

As teru said above:

"I figured it's a battle against crappy hold music more than anything. ;)"

That's the intent of this usage - I saw it as an opportunity to share some great tunes with people in a unique way, and hopefully give ccmixter a little more exposure too.

- Ryan

spinmeister said...

I'm not one to want to give a small business a rough time. And I'm not sure how you would feel about somebody like McDonalds or Starbucks taking one of your cc licensed Flickr images and displaying it in all of their outlets, mentioning the cc license and your name only one the personal blog of one of their executives (not even the main company website).

And I have to admit my failure to see what 4b has to do with on-hold music either for or against.

And I fail to see what would be so unreasonable about inserting at least a ccMixter station id into the the stream of songs, if as you say, you want to give ccMixter some exposure.

And I fail to understand, what would be so unreasonable about posting proper attribution on your company website, if you are using the music on your company telephone system. Why the personal blog and not the company website?

So I fail to see how any of ccMixter or the remixers featured are benefiting from the "exposure" in your company's on-hold system. Attribution in some place rather far away from the work itself doesn't seem much attribution at all.

If at least the attribution was done with a little more care, it would make your case seem so much more sympathetic.

fourstones said...

hey ryan,

first off thanks for thinking of ccM and I have to say you've picked some great music.

second it should be made clear that their aren't any lawyers here and nothing here should be construed as legal advice, just some folks trying to find their way though the new world.

having said all that it's always been my impression that hold music for a commercial company definitely constitutes commercial usage. I know that Magnatune makes a nice penny licensing specifically to that. If you have a lawyer available you might want to run by the clause you quote and get their interpretation (just a suggestion).

Having said that my guess is that approximately 100% of the artists you're using would give you permission if asked -- but then I do not speak for them. All I'm saying is that if you pinged them with an email these kind of borderline-commercial cases would fall away. I've used this method and call it the "LAPD licensing method" -- shoot first ask questions later. So far it's always worked out for me.

Regarding attribution I have to say it does seem like a gray area to me as well. I'll pose this suggestion as a question: If each of those artists had a short audio promo like these would you consider including them sprinkled into the audio?


Ryan said...


Oops - I mentioned "promos" in my original response that blogger ate. I looked on the site for some ccmixter bumpers and came up empty -- but that was probably my own poor searching capabilities on the site.

I've grabbed your generic promo for now and will add it to the queue when I'm back in the office.

I'll ping the artists to and make sure none of them have objections.


Ryan said...

I've pinged as many as I can - how long does the ccMixter email restriction typically last? (I got one out before it locked up)

The guys who had myspace pages/websites I pinged but everyone else will have to wait until I can email through the site again (sleeperspaceborn, The Paloseco Brazz Orchestra, ditto ditto, Tacet & Lasswell) - unless you guys know of alternate ways to ping them.

teru said...

Hi Ryan,

That's incredibly decent of you.

The email restriction is of course to stop bots. Sorry that must it difficult when trying to contact more than one person. btw - What is your ccMixter name?

And when looking for promos, look for the "site_promo" tag for best results.

Thanks for being so cool about this. : )

Ryan said...

Hey Teru,

I pinged you through the site as well but figured I should close the loop here.

I'm going to have to pull the plug on this whole idea. One of the artists made a good point about the licensing of samples or acapellas in the songs too.

Technically to be truly in the clear I'd need to get a nod from everyone involved and that's just too much work and too ricky.

Oh well, maybe we'll figure out a way to make this work in the future :(

Thanks for the input/insights guys.

- Ryan

teru said...

Damn. Now I regret posting about this. If I had just been quiet.....

Thanks for trying Ryan.

Ryan said...

No biggie teru - it prompted some interesting discussion and points out some interesting challenges that might come up and best of all everyone was civil about it - what is the Internet coming to!?! :P

spinmeister said...

Ryan, I think you're doing the right thing and should be commended for taking the high road.

And I appreciate that this issue and the implications aren't as simple as one might hope for.

fourstones said...

well before you pull the plug you do realize we have 1000s of upload that are cleared for commercial use -- like these.

Ryan said...

fourtones: true... I'll dig around and maybe revive this idea a little down the road.

Thanks for pointing the tracks out though


teru said...

I want to clarify what I meant about my earlier comment,

"Damn. Now I regret posting about this. If I had just been quiet....."

I meant that purely as - I regret to be the person to bring this to attention of others thus stopping the music being used. I regret it because I am not qualified to interpret the licenses in any way. It's about me, I feel bad about it. Nothing more than that.

The above comment was not meant to condone the use of any music without the necessary permissions in any way. I firmly believe that artist should be recognized for their work and more importantly the art should be used in the way the artist has specified.

Thank you spinmeister for warning me about the context of my comment. I will be more careful in the future about these serious issues.