Home » Glossary » Hold music

Hold music

Definition

What is hold music?

Also called music on hold, hold music is the recorded tunes that people would usually hear when they are placed on hold by an operator or customer service agent

Hold music can range from familiar pop songs to elevator music and company jingles.It is a common practice in call centers to replace the dead air and ease the boredom of waiting.

hold music
What is hold music?

Why have hold music?

Hold music keeps your callers entertained while they wait, but it’s not a simple solution for extended wait times.

A more reasonable explanation is that it would be hard for a caller to determine whether they’re still connected if there was only complete silence.

According to a survey conducted by OnHold32, callers are less likely to drop the call when hold music is played. Moreover, it gives them the impression of waiting for less time than they actually were. 

Hold music origin

Hold music was born out of an accidental discovery back in the 1960s. It’s all thanks to inventor and entrepreneur Alfred Levy who discovered that a loose wire in his factory was transmitting music from a nearby radio station when calls were on hold. 

Four years later, he patented his invention. Then, in the early 2000s, hold music became a billion-dollar industry. Ringback tones became increasingly popular as cell phone personalization became a trend.

In place of ringtones for incoming calls, people carefully selected the tune to play. It was an opportunity to take charge of the phone and show off your personality before you even said hello.

How to choose hold music for your business

It’s crucial to choose the right hold music. We all know how frustrating waiting can be and how music may affect customers’ attitudes.

Here are some ways to choose the best hold music for your business:

Consider the appropriate genre

Start with what is appropriate for your company. Recognize your audience, understand their mindset, and select music accordingly. The safest choice is pop songs, which the company can also combine with short corporate messaging.

Factor in the average wait time

If your call center has a long average wait time, avoid rock tunes that may be too overwhelming and make callers more aware of the long wait. 

It is best to choose songs that can soothe their mood during long wait times or make a positive impression during a quick hold. 

Think about music quality

Take into consideration the quality deterioration that comes with listening to hold music. The best music on hold features a limited number of instruments, ideally only one. This is because simple music is better at responding to changes in quality.

Get Inside Outsourcing

An insider's view on why remote and offshore staffing is radically changing the future of work.

Order now

Start your
journey today

  • Independent
  • Secure
  • Transparent

About OA

Outsource Accelerator is the trusted source of independent information, advisory and expert implementation of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).

The #1 outsourcing authority

Outsource Accelerator offers the world’s leading aggregator marketplace for outsourcing. It specifically provides the conduit between world-leading outsourcing suppliers and the businesses – clients – across the globe.

The Outsource Accelerator website has over 5,000 articles, 350+ podcast episodes, and a comprehensive directory with 3,000+ BPO companies… all designed to make it easier for clients to learn about – and engage with – outsourcing.

About Derek Gallimore

Derek Gallimore has been in business for 20 years, outsourcing for over eight years, and has been living in Manila (the heart of global outsourcing) since 2014. Derek is the founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, and is regarded as a leading expert on all things outsourcing.