Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find many of the Frequently Asked Questions for Society-related business. Please check the FAQs below for an answer to your support question, and if you need further assistance contact Customer Service at customerservice@barbershop.org or call 800-876-7464.

Customer Service and General Membership Support

1. Why does it take so long for an application sent in with a check to get processed into the system?
Renewal checks must first go through the Accounting Department in order to be processed and cleared. Checks are cleared in the order they are received, and once cleared, the application is then passed along to Customer Service for the purpose of updating records. This process can often be somewhat lengthy, especially if it’s during a higher traffic portion of the wave of quarterly renewals. NOTE: We do encourage all members to renew online via the secure Member Center https://members.barbershop.org website, as it significantly reduces the amount of time it takes to renew from weeks to just a day or two.
2. I just registered a new quartet/renewed a quartet online. When will it be processed? The contest entry deadline is rapidly approaching!
It typically takes 3-5 business days for a quartet registration/renewal to fully process due to the name verification and confirmation that all quartet members’ subscriptions are up to date. As long as your official request for registration or renewal takes place and fees are paid before the contest entry deadline, you should be ok, but we strongly encourage you to handle registrations/renewals at least a week ahead of a contest deadline. We cannot guarantee you will be eligible, as that decisions rests with the District Contest and Judging representative. However, if this happens, we will work with you and the C&J Rep as best we can to get you entered for contest on your behalf to ensure contest eligibility.
3. I accidentally ordered the wrong music or learning cd (wrong arrangement, female version, etc.). Why can I not get a refund or exchange the music for something else?
For each sheet music and learning CD order, there are behind-the-scenes transactions that also take place with the associated publishers for mechanical licenses, copyright fees, etc. Because of these necessary transactions that take place at the time of order, we cannot allow refunds.
4. Why can't you email me the music or the MP3 of the learning track as opposed to mailing and charging me for shipping?
In many cases, publishers have not granted distributors (such as Harmony Marketplace) the permission to send their content via email or other electronic means. The decision to allow or disallow electronic delivery lies with the owners of the songs, and as a result we are legally not able to send out electronic copies of mp3s or sheet music.
5. I'm unable to log in to the Member Center because my password reset link doesn't work.

In some cases, the email for the Password Reset link gets sent to a member’s email spam folder. If you have attempted a password reset and it has not appeared, we encourage you to check your spam folder in the event the email was mistakenly flagged as spam.

However, if you do receive the email with the reset link but the link does not work properly, in some cases the reset link gets prematurely cut off by the email client being used. If the entire reset link does not appear ‘clickable’, you may be able to manually highlight the entire link with your cursor, and then copy and paste it into a browser window.

Also, in many cases your email address we have on file is outdated. If this is the case, please email customerservice@barbershop.org and a representative will assist you with updating your information.

6. When I try to log into the Member Center, the system gives me an error message 'User doesn't exist.'
If you receive this error message, it probably means that the online portion of your membership account has not been properly set up on our end. We will need to ensure that you have been properly set up. Email us at customerservice@barbershop.org and explain your issue and we will verify that one has been created.
7. I'm able to log into the Member Center, but I'm unable to access or change any of my chapter information or records.

There might be a few reasons for this. Either your membership has expired, or perhaps your role as a chapter officer (if you had one initially) has expired.

Once your membership has expired, your access to the Member Center will be limited to only a few functions, such as dues renewal and accessing your own personal information. Access to chapters and most other the Member Center functions will be removed until you have renewed.

If you are a chapter officer and have lost access to change your chapter’s information, then your role itself may have expired. Typically, chapter officer roles extend from Jan 1 – Dec 31 for a given year (although this can vary), and after the year rollover, the “active officers” will be expunged from the active leaders list. If you think this may have happened, then either contact another officer in your chapter to confirm if you can be added back to the active leaders list, or contact us at customerservice@barbershop.org.

8. Why do I have to fill out a reinstatement application when it is over 6 months past my renewal date?
There is a grace period of up to 6 months past your expiration date. During this period you are able to renew without an interruption in years of service. After 6 months, your subscriptions are official expired at which point a reinstatement application and a small fee are required to begin your membership subscriptions again. Additionally, this process ensures that the expired member gets authorization from the chapter to rejoin in the event there has been a change in audition policies, membership requirements, etc.

Harmony Marketplace

1. Why did you do away with arranger's fees? Do I have to pay them directly myself? Are the arrangers still getting paid?

All sheet music sold at Harmony Marketplace will be sold at specific prices. Rather than break out specific fees on each purchase, the pricing structure has been streamlined. Arrangers will be justly compensated, and your purchases are absolutely legal. Now, most unpublished arrangements will be less expensive for customers than under the old system.

Better still, all members, quartets and chapters will now enjoy a 25% discount on all purchases at Harmony Marketplace. A technology upgrade will automatically award you the best price for any purchase, simplifying the shopping and checkout process. 

Updated sheet music pricing

(Effective on or about June 6, 2015)

Regular price: Published titles $3.20, Unpublished titles, $4.25

With 25% Member Discount: Published titles $2.40, Unpublished titles, $3.20

Additional discounts

We’ve made it easier to save even more! Buy 20 copies — save 10%, or Buy 50+ copies — save 20%. All on top of your existing 25% BHS member discount.

2. I live overseas, why can't I order music through you anymore? Don't you want my money?
Licensing restrictions with copyright holders guide what and where we can offer products. The Barbershop Harmony Society takes seriously its obligations to comply with the law. We distribute a growing number of titles for sale worldwide via Hal Leonard — visit bit.ly/mensbarbershop for many new publications. If your arrangement is not currently on sale through Hal Leonard or our website, contact library@barbershop.org for assistance in securing licenses for titles you wish to obtain.
3. Why aren't all your arrangements available for instant digital download?
Licensing restrictions with copyright holders guide us on how, when and where we can offer our song-related products. The Barbershop Harmony Society takes seriously its obligations to comply with the law.
4. Why did the prices increase? Can't you go back to the old website and give us our lower prices back?
Many prices have been artificially low, or have not kept pace with general increases in their categories. Sheet music pricing, for example, has not changed in more than ten years. 
5. I am a school/church, can I/how do I get a purchase order?
We do not offer purchase orders; all transactions are by credit/debit card only. 
6. I am a chapter, can I/how do I bill the chapter?
We do not offer purchase orders; all transactions are by credit/debit card only. You may make a purchase personally and receive the member discount, then receive reimbursement from the chapter.
7. How do I cancel or change an order I have made?
All sales are binding at the time of purchase. Our vastly enhanced ecommerce system moves orders from billing to shipping almost immediately, which means we’ll ship more items more quickly than ever. That also means that there is no time to alter an order after it is confirmed. If you have a question regarding your order, please contact Customer Service (800-876-7464 or customerservice@barbershop.org) BEFORE placing your order. You will receive status updates as you order is 1) placed 2) in process 3) shipped with UPS and U.S. Postal Service tracking codes. 
8. I forgot to add something to my order. Can you combine my two orders and only charge me shipping once instead of twice?
Sorry, no. You will be able to select shipping options based on location and size price at checkout; once the purchase is completed, these are locked in. 
9. Can I purchase a gift certificate? How do I use a gift certificate?
Yes! See page called “Gift Certificates.” These are delivered via email or mail and can be redeemed online anytime. You may apply a gift certificate to the total on any order, and make up the balance with your credit card. Or, if your gift certificate is for an amount greater than your purchase, we’ll store the remaining value in your account to make another purchase later. 
10. Why can't I get next day shipping anymore?
Standard next-day shipping service is available via UPS and US Postal Service. No expedited services. We think we think we’ll be reducing our normal turnaround to less than 24 hours.
11. Why can't I see these orders in my order history on the Member members.barbershop.org anymore?
All past orders will continue to be visible in the Member Center for the immediate future. All orders processed in the new platform will display in your shop.barbershop.org user account.
12. Can I still place my orders over the phone? I don't have/use a computer so how do I order?
YES — call Customer Service Center at 800-876-SING. 
13. Can I still email/fax/mail in an order?
We handle orders via the website and via telephone. 
14. How do I receive the member discount?
When you get to the Billing Options (#4 on the check-out screen) there will be a place to enter and validate your member number.

If you are an active member and you validate your member number, the following message appears:

Notice Your BHS Membership was validated and your discount applied to your order.

If you do not receive this message then your membership has not been validated, and you will not receive a discount as orders are processed in real time.

15. I forgot to enter or validate my member number before placing my order; can I go back and get member pricing?
No, once the order is placed, the price is locked and the funds collected immediately. Please order with care.
16. May I use my spouse's member ID to get member pricing? Where do I locate that number?
Yes. The Member ID is on the Membership card, on the Harmonizer mailing label, and in chapter rosters.
17. Is there a vendor discount?
All vendors should contact shipping@barbershop.org.


Music Copyright and Licensing Issues

1. So, I want to sing a song, but the arrangement doesn't exist. How can I make that happen? How can I legally arrange a song?
There are many arrangers for hire who are willing to take on commissions to create new arrangements for a fee, and you would need to get in touch with one of them directly to make such a request. When an arrangement is created, the appropriate licenses must be in place from the copyrightholding music publishers in order for the arrangement to be legally created and distributed. The Society’s Music Library can help in this process, as this is a service we provide. You or your group would need to sponsor the cost of obtaining a license (contact the Music Library for an estimate/quote based on your song). It usually takes 30-60 days to turn around the paperwork, depending on the publisher(s) and song(s) involved. If you would like to request that we secure permission to arrange on your behalf, you will need to complete the Arrangement & Reproduction Request Form and return it to library@barbershop.org which will authorize us to move forward with the clearance(s).
2. What is a mechanical license, and why do I even need one?
A mechanical license must be in place if you want to create an audio recording [CD or song for download (DPD)]. Per Circular 73 from the Copyright Office, “Section 115 of the Copyright Act provides a compulsory license to make and distribute phonorecords once a phonorecord of a work has been distributed to the public in the United States under the authority of the copyright owner…”. That just means once a song has been recorded with permission of the copyright owner, anyone may then create another recording or cover, if they follow the rules. The Copyright Office has set a statutory royalty rate, which is currently $0.091 for each unit manufactured (or downloaded) due to the copyright holder. In order for you to obtain a mechanical license, you must pay this amount for each copy of each song you create. The easiest way to obtain such a license is to use the Songfile system on www.harryfox.com. The Harry Fox Agency is the largest agent representing the majority of copyright holders for processing mechanical licenses. Once a payment of $0.091/unit is collected and accepted by this agent, or the copyright holder directly, the license is in place. A Notice of Intention To Obtain a Compulsory License must accompany your payment, although this is not necessary when you purchase your licenses through Harry Fox. For more information on this, please refer to the Harry Fox web site, to Circular 73, available from the copyright.gov web site, or to the Copyright Basics for Barbershoppers article.
3. A new member has joined my group but replaced another member. Can we give the new guy the previous member's music?
Certainly. Just be sure to not make any NEW copies. Any new copies made must be paid for and purchased legally from an authorized distributor. If the music is in our catalog, you can purchase new copies from the Sheet Music Store. To place an order with them, go to their website at www.barbershop.org/store, send an e-mail to customerservice@barbershop.org or call them at the (800) 876- 7464 or (+1)(615) 823-3993. To give you the most accurate pricing, you’ll need to provide them with your member/associate number, mailing address, payment information, the number of copies you desire of the arrangement, and the shipment method of your choice.
4. How can I make audio recordings or videos of my performance without breaking the copyright law? What if I am doing this for educational purposes only? What about for sheet music?
It is legal to make a single audio or video recording of a rehearsal or show for archival, educational, or study purposes, and to make one back up copy for security. However, if you want to distribute copies to members or offer them to the public either for sale or for free, you must first obtain a mechanical license for audio recordings only, or a synchronization license for a DVD/video for each copyrighted song used on the recording. If the DVD of the concert will not be distributed, and only one or two copies will be made for educational purposes, there is no need for legal clearance, but if additional copies would be made and distributed, you would be responsible for obtaining the necessary clearances. You would need to submit requests in writing to obtain synchronization licenses, or at least obtain informal approval in writing from each publisher of songs included in the video, regardless of length of use. Here is a list of some of the information the publishers will require prior to considering a request: – Description of program and your organization. – Territory – Where you will distribute the material (worldwide if posted on the web). – Term – How long will the video be posted or distributed? – Media – Online streaming video? DVD, CD? (if DVD or CD, how many copies will be distributed?) – Length of use –timing can usually be approximate (up to 0:30, etc.) but some want exact timing. – Type of use: background/vocal, (under picture) or visual/vocal (performers are seen singing). You can propose gratis (approval with no license fee) clearance and see if they will agree. You can use the repertory search functions on the ascap.com, bmi.com, and sesac.com web sites to help you identify the publishers and how to contact them. Distributing sheet music for educational purposes may fall under an area of copyright law called fair use, on which the Society staff does not advise, as this area can be interpreted in many ways. We leave that decision up to our chapters, and they must decide whether or not they feel they can rely on that. This area of the law has been interpreted very thoroughly by the Stanford University Library and their guidelines may be very useful or our chapters, and can be found online here: http://fairuse.stanford.edu The NAfME (The National Association for Music Education) has also provided some guidelines on this topic on their web site here: http://musiced.nafme.org/resources/copyright-center#understanding
5. What is the difference between the Society's Published and Unpublished catalogs?
The arrangements in the Society’s Published catalog are “Barbershop Harmony Society approved” and are thought to be the most suitable arrangements in the catalog for most chapters and quartets to sing, although this does not necessarily mean these songs are contestable. Unpublished arrangements have been licensed and approved by the music publishers (copyright holders), so we make them available to our membership, but the Society has not officially recommended them. These arrangements may become published in the future, which is decided by the Music Publications Committee. We do not have learning media available for these arrangements, although they may be available through other independent sources outside of the Society. If none exist, you can have learning tracks commissioned. For Unpublished Arrangements, Arranger fees may also apply for orders of more than one Preview Copy, and per-copy fees may vary. The Harmony Marketplace is available to answer any questions regarding pricing. You can contact the Marketplace via their website at shop.barbershop.org, via e-mail to customerservice@barbershop.org, or by calling them at (800) 876-7464 or (1+)(615) 823-3993.
6. When does something become public domain? What does that mean for me when I want to arrange or distribute sheet music? What if I want to record something in the public domain?
Music and lyrics published before 1923 are in the Public Domain in the United States, and the copyright law in other countries varies. No one owns songs in the public domain, therefore they may be used by anyone. When a song in the public domain is arranged, the resulting work, called a derivative work, and its corresponding copyright belong to the arranger, and that work is then protected by copyright. Once a new work is fixed in a tangible medium of expression, it has a copyright and is protected under federal law – there is no longer a requirement or need to register works with the Copyright Office in order for an official copyright to be in place. The copyrights in and to musical recordings, however, are copyright protected separately from their underlying musical compositions. There are no sound recordings in the Public Domain in the US. There is a handy list (though not totally complete) of public domain songs available on www.pdinfo.com.
7. When do I turn in my ASCAP and BMI/SESAC and forms? Where do I send them? Is my performance exempt?
Since there really isn’t a brief response to this, please contact your District Secretary who can provide further information. Should you have any further questions, please feel free to email us at chapters@barbershop.org or contact the Society.
8. Can someone legally 'gift' their sheet music to me? Can I buy someone else's original and legally distributed music?
As long as your copies of the music were purchased legally, you may gift those copies to anyone you like. There is no problem with them using this music in competition or for any performances as long as you can state that the music was obtained legally. To prove that is the case, a copy of the receipt/Purchase Record and a note indicating the transfer should come along with the gift, should the new performing group be faced with the task of proving those copies were purchased legally. The copyright owners/music publishers require payment each time a new copy is produced of any of their songs, so if you are making any copies you must be sure to purchase them from whomever distributes that music, be it the Society or arrangers legally distributing the music independently.
9. My chorus has provided me an arrangement to sing with them that I'd like to use to sing with my quartet. Is that OK? Do I have to buy more copies just to sing it with a different group?
You can sing them with any group you like, as often as you like, as long as your chorus has no problem with you taking the music with you and using it in this way. You do not have to purchase more copies of your music unless you make more copies. Each time a copy is made, payment is due to the copyright holder. When you purchase music from the Society, we deliver these payments to these copyright holders per our license agreements with them. This also applies to music and learning tracks legally acquired from a Harmony Brigade, Harmony University, a district HEP school or any other legal source. Once you legally own music and/or learning tracks for a particular song, you may sing (or compete with) that song as often as you like without paying any additional fees.
10. Someone told me that I need to legalize my copies because we're going to compete or perform this song. If I bought my music from Harmony Marketplace, is it legalized? Is it copyright cleared?
Yes. If you have purchased your music from us, the appropriate licenses are in place allowing us to distribute that music, and we are taking care of the necessary payments due to the copyright holders which are the result of those sales. If you purchase music directly from an arranger distributing independently, you will need to ensure that they are operating in this same way, or if they will require you to do anything on your own to make your copies legal.
11. If a learning track is not available from Harmony Marketplace, can I create my own or hire someone else to do that for me? How do I accomplish that legally?
You can certainly hire someone to create tracks for you, or you can record them yourself. However, you will need to secure the appropriate mechanical licenses discussed earlier. If you are purchasing learning tracks from someone who distributes them independently, they may ask you to obtain your own mechanical licenses, so be sure to ask them about this process before you make your purchase. If you are wanting to make copies of Society learning tracks, contact Harmony Marketplace, and also review the Learning CD Duplication Policy.
12. I want to use background music on my website or post a video on YouTube. Do I have to do anything to make sure this is legal?
Posting videos online, on YouTube, or even on a password-protected site cannot be done legally without the appropriate web synchronization license from the copyright owner/publisher. If a copyright holder finds a song being used in combination with a video posted on YouTube without a license, they have every right to ask that user to remove the video – this happens frequently, and sometimes, based on the number of views, these users can be fined with hefty penalties. To determine who the publishers are that hold the rights to the compositions you would like to use in combination with the videos you would like to post, you can conduct repertory searches on the ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC web sites (www.ascap.comwww.bmi.com www.sesac.com) . Once you have that information, you must send them a written request (via letter, e-mail, or online request, depending on the copyright holder’s preferences), outlining the details of the license you’d like to secure. Include this information:

  • Song title/composers;
  • Territory (worldwide);
  • Term (how long you intend to post it);
  • Description of your project and its intent; and
  • Media Venue (worldwide web/YouTube/etc.).

For songs in the public domain (published prior to 1923), once these are arranged they become property of the arranger, so you will need to contact them for permission as well. All of this is totally possible and doable – the music library performs these tasks on a daily basis. This information is not in any way meant to discourage you. The videos that the Society has posted on YouTube have been licensed and it has paid the corresponding licensing fees.

13. How much does a preview/single copy of an arrangement in your catalog cost? Do I have to pay an arranger fee?
Preview copies can be purchased online at shop.barbershop.org. If needed you can also contact Customer Service for exact pricing, as these prices vary.
14. I'm going to be on TV or on the radio. What do I need to do to make sure I'm not breaking the copyright laws?
United States copyright law, as of January 1, 1978, gives certain exclusive rights to the copyright owner, who may be the writer of a song or someone who has been assigned ownership, such as a publisher or an estate, through contractual agreements. These rights are to:

  • PREPARE derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;
  • REPRODUCE the copyrighted work in copies or recordings;
  • DISTRIBUTE copies;
  • PERFORM the work publicly; and
  • DISPLAY the work publicly.

As this relates to television and radio, we are concerned primarily about the performance and derivative work aspect of these situations. When music is paired with video footage, a derivative work is then created, which would require a synchronization license. If you are going to be on a television program, the party producing the show is responsible for obtaining these licenses, not the performing group (unless, of course, the group signs a contract stating that they are to be responsible for securing them). Your only responsibility to them may be providing the copyright holder information for the songs currently under copyright (those published after 1923) or the arranger information for songs in the public domain (published prior to 1923). For a performance on the radio, no synchronization licenses need to be in place, unless the show is to be syndicated and sold (again, not your responsibility to get those licenses unless you sign your life away). Most radio and television stations have blanket broadcasting licenses in place from ASCAP/BMI/SESAC, which would cover you for not breaking copyright law as it relates to performance rights, but it is the broadcaster’s responsibility (not the performer’s responsibility) to ensure those are in place, unless, again, the group signs something indicating that they will make themselves responsible. In essence, it is the responsibility of the station to make sure what they are airing is legal, but performers must make sure they don’t sign anything indicating they will secure the necessary licenses and/or pay for them, unless that is something they want to do. In order to use copyrighted music in any type of commercial, you’ll need to secure the appropriate license from the music publisher holding the rights in and to the song. You will need to submit your request in writing, detailing the timeframe for which you wish to air it, in what territory, and what media (what type of station, be it radio, cable TV, etc.). There will likely be a fee involved, and those can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. If the commercial is to promote your own group, you will be required to secure this permission – if this is for another company of product, the company producing the spot will be required to do so.

15. Is there some kind of '30-second rule'? Would such a rule excuse me from having to get a license for using a song in a video or on my website?
There isn’t such a rule. Even 30-second samples on music distribution web sites are “cleared” through individual licenses with the copyright holder, performance licenses, and with SoundScan in some cases. Some argue that such a rule exists and is considered fair use, but the Society does not advise or lean on that. Again, it is up to our chapters to decide if they want to rely on that. In general, the rule of thumb is: When in doubt, ask for permission!
16. Our chapter has a collection of music that doesn't identify the arrangers, and we don't have any receipts documenting our purchases. Should we keep it?
If you cannot identify the arranger, you won’t be able to determine if a license has ever been secured authorizing the creation and distribution of that arrangement. If you can conduct research and find out who the arranger is, we can help you figure out if it has been licensed and to seek clearances if you want them. If your research leaves you with no answers, it is best to destroy the music.
17. How do I submit my arrangement for publication consideration?
Contact our music publications team at library@barbershop.org for more information as it relates to the timeline for this, but once a year the Publications Committee meets and decides which arrangements will be included in that year’s publication series, which is a collection of arrangements that comes out twice a year that is “Society-approved”.
18. I'd like to sing a song at a funeral. Do I need to worry about copyright in this case?
Not really. Just be sure to have purchased legal copies of your music. The funeral home will be responsible for having the appropriate performance licenses in place with ASCAP/BMI/SESAC. The “religious services exemption” in the Copyright Law permits for the performance of copyrighted religious works in the course of services at places of worship or at religious assemblies.
19. You work at such a cool place. Can I visit and tour Headquarters and the Old Songs Library?
Of course you can! We would love to see you and meet you – and you may get the opportunity to sing a Polecat or Tag with our staff while you’re here! We’re happy to give you a tour during our normal operating hours, which are currently Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., CST.
20. So, what if I'm woodshedding…is that legal? Do I have to get permission? What if I want to record a woodshedded performance?
It’s perfectly legal to sing on the spot without music. However, you must follow the rules discussed earlier and also mentioned in the Copyright Basics for Barbershoppers article as it relates to performance licenses. Make sure you complete any required forms for ASCAP/BMI/SESAC. If you want to record the audio or video a woodshedded performance, that’s OK, too, as long as you obtain the appropriate mechanical or synchronization licenses, as discussed earlier.
21. I don't know where this copy of my music came from. Did someone in my chapter actually buy it?
If you can’t track down a receipt, chances are the music wasn’t actually purchased and you should destroy it and purchase new copies. If you’re pretty sure you know who purchased it, they can look up their payment history on the the Member Center portion of our web site. If you don’t know how to use that, check in with Customer Service customerservice@barbershop.org.
22. What is a 'Special Order' Arrangement and what makes it different from the unpublished and published arrangements in the catalog?
An arrangement is usually categorized as a “Special Order” because the copyright holder has limited the number of copies we can sell in its license, and/or the term of the copyright holder license has expired. Customers for these types of arrangements will be referred to the Music Library for further assistance.
23. I don't like copyright and I'm inclined to ignore it altogether. Is it actually a good thing? Are you just trying to drive us barbershoppers crazy?
Certainly not, and copyright is in place to help us all! Copyright law is set to promote the creation and protection of new works and ideas. If these laws didn’t exist, the incentive to create and share would decrease dramatically. We’re not trying to “drive you crazy” by enforcing lots of silly rules. The Society’s policies are in place to keep you and your chapter and the Society out of hot water. If you use someone else’s intellectual property without permission, you could be faced with having to pay hefty fines.
24. How accurate is all of this information? Can I 'take this to the bank'?
The Society doesn’t offer official legal advice, but we are offering copyright basics as it’s been given to us through legal counsel over the years and from our own experiences and education from working with copyright-related issues. If you would like to seek out further legal advice on your own then please feel free to consult a local attorney who is familiar with intellectual property law. Chapters do this all the time for many chapter business issues, so it’s not uncommon. There are likely associated legal costs, however, for which the chapter would be responsible.

Music Education/Harmony University

1. Is my song contestable?
It’s important to ensure that the song you have chosen for your group for competition aligns with the proper guidelines of contestability. If you are unsure, we suggest you communicate with Don Gray, a barbershop contestability specialist who has donated his time and expertise to help answer any questions you may have about a specific arrangement. He can be reached via email at dongray@cinci.rr.com. Also, you can read more about the contestability of arrangements at /competitions/arrangement-contestability/ 
2. How do I register my song for a contest?
You will be able to register your song(s) for contest during official contest entry process for your group in competition. Once you have properly chosen your group and which contest you wish to compete in, you will be given the opportunity to enter your songs. You will be able to either use the Society ID number for the specific arrangement to enter it, or you will have the option to enter in all the song details and copyright information by hand for an arrangement that may not exist in our catalog.
3. There are multiple versions of the song my group wants to sing. Which specific arrangement of this song should we sing?
Some songs may have multiple arrangements, and some of these arrangements might be better suited for your group than others might be. If you have any questions about which arrangement is best for you, please contact Scott Harris, BHS Arranger & Repertoire Manager at sharris@barbershop.org or Wayne Grimmer, BHS Music Educator at wgrimmer@barbershop.org and they would be happy to assist you with making the best choice for your group.

Also, be aware that first-page previews are available on the shop.barbershop.org website. Many of these arrangements may indicate which prominent group may have sung that specific version (“As Sung By Revival”, for example), which may help serve as a useful indicator as to the style and difficulty of the arrangement.

4. I can't register for a specific class for Harmony University the Event.
A) Why is there a prerequisite for the class?

Some classes require that you have completed a prerequisite class first. If you have any questions about prerequisites, please contact Donny Rose at harmonyu@barbershop.org for more information.

B) The class I want to take isn’t showing up in the class selection dropdown.

For some curriculum tracks, such as Directors College, certain classes are required. Because of the required classes for certain tracks, other classes that occur at the same time may not be available. If you have any questions about which classes are available for which tracks, please contact Donny Rose at harmonyu@barbershop.org.

Chapter Financial Services

1. How is the Chapter Liability Insurance calculated?
The Chapter liability insurance is reviewed and adjusted annually and billed in the 1st quarter of the year. In 2018, the cost was a $35 administrative fee plus $14.00 per member (based on membership numbers on 12-31-2017).
2. Where can I get a Certificate of Insurance?
We have a list of insurance documents available in our document center here: www.barbershop.org/resources/document-center/business-and-finance/#insurance Please download the appropriate form and follow the instructions to obtain the certificate for your venue.
3. Where can I get proof of 501(c)(3)?
To receive proof of 501(c)(3) status as a U.S. Chapter, please download the “IRS Letter Confirming Non-Profit Tax-Exempt Status” document in our Document Center: http://www.barbershop.org/resources/document-center/business-and-finance/#organization-tax-documents
4. How do I pay my invoice that our chapter owes to the Society?
Currently, the Barbershop Harmony Society only accepts payment by check for invoices sent to a chapter. If you have questions about your invoice please email customerservice@barbershop.org or call 800-876-7464.
5. Where should we send our financial filings?
All chapters should update their Chapter Profile in the Member Center. Chapter Presidents, Secretaries, and Treasurers can upload and update the “Financial Filings” section. If you have difficulties, you can email your financial filings to financialfilings@barbershop.org.

Insurance Coverage

1. Who is covered under the general liability policy?
Chapters and their current members.
2. We are having a guest night are our guests covered under the policy if they are hurt?

If this is a rehearsal and they have guests (audience), then there is coverage for guests under General Liability for bodily injury or property damage caused by the negligence of the BHS or Chapter.

If guest night means a performance where non-member groups are invited to perform, there is some coverage for non-member groups if they suffer bodily or personal injury caused by the negligence of BHS or Chapter.  However, the chapter should still obtain a Certificate of Insurance showing the non-member (guest) group has their own general liability coverage and request BHS and/or the Chapter be named as an additional insured on the Non-Member groups policy.

3. Are my audience members covered at our show/performance?
There is coverage if property damage or bodily injury are a result of negligence by a chapter/ chapter member(s).
4. I can't open the online PDF to read the General Liability coverages. How can I get a copy? Can you send it to me in a Word Document?
This is a secure document and since word documents can be altered the only way to send/ view this form is via PDF.

We will be happy to print off the information sheet and mail it to you.

You may see if another member of your chapter can access and print the document for you.

5. We are doing a parade. Is the trailer (Chapter owned) covered in the case of accident?
The trailer is covered for property damage to the trailer if your chapter has purchased the property insurance coverage.

If there is an accident caused by the vehicle pulling the trailer the personal auto policy of the person whose vehicle is pulling the trailer is primary.

6. Are guests that come to rehearsal to listen covered by GL policy?
There is coverage for guests under General Liability for bodily injury or property damage caused by the negligence of the Barbershop Harmony Society or chapter.

Certificates of Insurance (COIs)

1. Who do I contact to get a Certificate of Insurance?
Chapters & Districts can request a certificate of insurance using the forms provided in our BHS Document Center (Click Here). US & Canadian groups have different brokers and forms to utilize. Specific  procedures are in place and instructions can be found on the respective certificate request form. 
2. How do I fill out the form online?
Downloadable and fillable forms can be found on our document center by clicking here.
3. Who is Certificate Holder?
The organization either requesting the certificate or the organization you have a contract with.
4. Why do I have to request and/or provide Certificate of Insurance for non-member groups?
Non-member groups are not Named Insureds under the BHS policy. So, proof of liability insurance should be obtained from invited groups, and BHS and/or the chapter should ask to be named as additional insured on their policies.  If the non-member groups do not have their own coverage, there is no specific or additional premium charged for them, but the carrier does want to keep track of how many non-member groups are performing with us that are uninsured for future policy considerations.
5. Why do schools/church groups that we invite to perform at our show/benefit have to show insurance coverage when we have a policy in place?
Our policy covers bodily injury or property damage to a third party caused by neglect of chapter or its members. The intent of the BHS GL policy is not to cover bodily injury or property damage caused by the negligence of non-member groups performing at a show/benefit function. If a claim occurs due to the negligence and legal liability of the non-member group the insurance of the non-member would be primary.
6. What is the best way to obtain a certificate of insurance for non-member group(s) to avoid additional premium?
Many schools/ churches already have a policy in place for coverage. You can call or email the contact person to request certificate as you have requested one from BHS.

Property Insurance Coverage

1. Our chapters purchased the property insurance and now want to cancel it. A. How do we do that? B. Does coverage stop immediately? C. Can we get refunded for unused coverage?

Send an email to customerservice@barbershop.org letting us know your intent to cancel policy at the end of term.

If you have already paid for the policy it will stay in effect for the full year. Refunds are not given once policy has been purchased.

2. Will/can we get a refund if we are in the middle of our policy?

General Liability Insurance Claims

1. We had a performance and someone was injured. What is the procedure for filing a claim?
A “Notice of Claim” form can be found on our website under our Insurance section or by clicking here. If you have further questions or need additional information, please use the contact information located on the form, or contact customerservice@barbershop.org.


1. Does my project have to be exclusively for males to receive funding?

No! We don’t have a gender requirement for awarded projects.

2. Does my project have to focus exclusively on barbershop?

No! We do require a barbershop/a cappella element, but it does not have to focus exclusively on the barbershop artform.

3. What is a letter of commitment? When do I need one?

A letter of commitment is written confirmation from a partnering organization regarding active participation and resources they have approved for your event. For example, if an organization is allowing you to use a venue space at no cost or a partnering organization has committed volunteers to work your event then you would require a letter of commitment

4. What is an indirect cost versus a direct cost? What kinds of costs does BHS fund?

A direct cost can be clearly associated with an event or project. These costs could include things like sheet music, food, learning tracks, quartet honorariums, etc. Indirect costs are more often overhead costs like equipment, administrative fees/salaries, and utility costs. The Barbershop Harmony Society Outreach Grants fund only direct costs at this time.

5. Who is on the review team for my grant application?

All applications will be reviewed by both outside reviewers and an executive review team of Barbershop Harmony Society employees. These two panels will include a variety of reviewers composed of both barbershoppers and non-barbershoppers.

6. What kinds of projects has the Barbershop Harmony Society funded in the past?

You can find the descriptions and contact information for all projects funded since 2016 on the grants page under Grant Resources. They are labeled as award summaries.

7. Why do I need to fill out a Letter of Intent before I apply for an Innovation Grant?

The letter of intent allows our review team to preview your idea before you fill out the extensive Innovation Grant application. It also allows the review team to give you feedback and advice before you fill out the application. This process ensures that you have the opportunity to refine your idea before applying and helps you produce the best possible application.

8. Where can I find information about the Youth Protection Training? Why do you require Youth Protection Training for granted events?
  • Taking the Youth Protection Training helps your counselors and clinicians to be better prepared to recognize and respond in sensitive situations. This process is also an insurance requirement, as well as a best practice for all events involving youth.
  • The BHS Youth Policy and other youth-related documents can be found in here: http://www.barbershop.org/resources/document-center/youth/
  • Chapters and Districts are permitted to utilize the Youth Protection Training provided by Abuse Prevention Systems (APS). You can contact customerservice@barbershop.org to request the training.
9. What kinds of projects do we support?

The Barbershop Harmony Society prioritizes seed funding new projects, but will also consider returning projects that have been previously awarded.

  • The Youth Outreach Grant funds initiatives like workshops, festivals, and camps.
  • The Innovation Grant funds innovative projects that focus on community impact. Please note that his type of project requires a letter of intent be filled out before the application in September. Please see barbershop.org/grants/#innovation for more information.


1. Is there a way to receive up to date Society news on a regular basis via email?
Yes! The LiveWire is a weekly publication that gets emailed to every subscriber every Thursday. It contains the most up-to-date news, important stories, current happenings, and announcements of import to all Society Members, Associates, and fans. If you haven’t already, sign up immediately by CLICKING HERE.
2. Why did I stop receiving LiveWire?
Occasionally, members report they have stopped receiving our weekly newsletter without explanation. There are several possibilities.

  • The email has been sent to your address but hidden by spam filters or “Promotions” tabs. Solution: check spam folders, search all folders from livewire@barbershop.org.
  • You clicked “Unsubscribe” without noticing. Solution: Click here to re-subscribe. This will allow our email service to begin sending to you once again.
3. Is there information provided about crossing the U.S. Border for BHS Activities?
Yes! Below, please find a link to information about crossing the border, specifically for activities sponsored and produced by the Barbershop Harmony Society or its subsidiaries.