Fun, Man

Genius hold music

Hold music varies from B2B.* It’s most often peppy, bright, heavily-Casioed elevator music. Less often, I’m greeted by classical. Senator Feinstein’s office has some nice and moving classical when placed on hold.

Some businesses stream a radio station. [I know, I’ve now lost half my readers.] There are those who scrap music altogether, filling those crucial customer seconds with the soft sell. There’s the hold nothingness where all that is heard is any static indicating the level of connection quality. Because hold music is so cheap to setup, nothingness hold is, today, very rare.

Last month, I ordered a drawer to replace the broken one in our fridge. [Most of the remaining half of readership is now GONE. Only a few close family and really bored Facebook friends remain.] The drawer, I learned is called a “crisper.” I don’t know if that’s the word given to all refrigerator vegetable drawers but if so, I learned something new. [Okay, now it’s just you and me, Mom. Please hang in there, I have a point.]

It’s hard for me to say the word, “crisper,” using my normal voice. I tend to say it in a slight whisper, unblinking focused eyes, tightened mouth – I’ll say it for you sometime, Mom. But I prefer using my normal voice, in which case I will continue to call it a drawer. Even while writing, apparently.

So I found the cheapest replacement I could find, ordered it on October 17, and am still waiting for it to arrive. I gave the company a call today, selected the option to speak to customer service, and then waited on hold.

Being one who enjoys taking the road less traveled, I was pleasantly surprised by the music I heard as I waited to be helped. It was horrible, grating, and annoying. Melodically, the riff begins on a higher note and then gradually descends with a slightly playful yet uncertain jingly effort attempted at the bottom of the scale before repeating the circus-type tune again. And again. After a couple of minutes, in awe, I put it on speakerphone and recorded it with my cell phone.

Maybe I am revealing a lack of culture if it turns out this particular hold music is a famous piece loved by all. If so, I’ll just say it now: Oh.

Check it out:

This clip has me thinking:

  1. I wish credit was given to hold music. Sometimes I want to know who wrote it, who performed it, the story behind it. Did the composer intend for it to be used as hold music? Were there loftier goals? No goals? After a minute, for example, you might hear, “Thank you for listening to Josh Rolph’s hold track entitled, ‘Hold Me’ from the popular album, ‘Hold You.’ To hear more of his hold tunes, check him out at”
  2. I had always thought that hold music was there to keep the customer from getting upset during the long hold. I never imagined a business would attempt to actually make you so upset while on hold that you hang up, improving their holding time. To me, the tactic used by this company is genius.
  3. This is my first post on I wanted a website where I could share my thoughts on life: both God and man (yes, yes, humankind, I know, but it will always sound better to say “God and man” vs “God and people.” I tried blogging on Tumblr – didn’t like it. Sorry Tumblr. It was you, not me. Twitter is cool but too short for me. Facebook is okay but not a blog. We’ll see if I write any more hard hitting pieces like this one after today.
  4. Yeah

* I am aware I used “B2B” out of context. It just seemed easier to abbreviate what I could have spelled out.


8 thoughts on “Genius hold music

  1. Anne Marie Anderson says:

    I read every word and look forward to your future ruminations. I have suffered a lot of gosh-awful hold music over the years. Your selection was particularly bizarre. I do so enjoy when the “music” is intermittently interrupted by a click that makes you think your call is being picked up, only to hear, “Your call is important to us; please continue to hold for the next available representative.” That one challenges my equanimity!

  2. Christine Souza says:

    In writing a feature on a craft brewery in Southern California, the hold music was not music, but the surprising sounds of a pilot (I’m guessing it is the brew owner/avid flier) speaking while inside the cockpit of a two-seater airplane. As airline passengers, we often hear pilots talk about the weather upon landing, but this was serious pilot talk. No drinking and flying obviously.

  3. Chris Anderson says:

    I must say, I should also like to hear this ‘crisper’ wHisper some time. And that it some awful hold music! I think they got that from one of my nightmares! And sure, I’m commenting on this post over 4 months after you wrote it; big whoop, wanna fight about it?

  4. Pingback: 5 Lessons Learned After a Year of Blogging (#3 Will Compel You to Click on This Post) | Josh Rolph

Your thoughts?