Music on Hold

It is very easy to select the wrong music for your call centre – such as the hospital that played Chopin’s Funeral March. You may not even be aware of what music on hold you actually are using. Here are some top tips.

1. Match your music on hold to the audience

If you have a young audience then current chart hits would be acceptable. If you have a mixed audience it may be better to be on the conservative side and play classical or easy listening.

2. Avoid Muzak

Yes it may be cheap and royalty free, but it is the equivalent of call centre prozak.

3. Be careful with Vivaldi

It used to be the most accepted track in call centres, but it has now been over used. It has even been parodied in a recent NatWest advert. There are lots of other soothing, well recognized tracks. Better to use one of these instead.

4. Tracks to avoid

Avoid the worst practice bad tracks such as

    • ‘Rocket Man’ by Elton John – with the words “I think it’s going to be a long, long time”

<li”>’How long has this been going on’ by Van Morrison

<li”>The lady’s clothing company that played Queen’s ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’

<li”>The hospital that played the ‘Funeral March’ by Chopin

<li”>’You just keep me hanging on’ by Kim Wilde

5. Listen to all of the words

You’d be amazed what messages come up in the lyrics if you listen carefully. Your caller may only get played a random clip of around 5 seconds. You don’t want to give the wrong impression.

6. Ensure that you have a performing rights license.

There is a requirement to ensure that you have a licence from the performing rights society. This can be obtained by contacting the society through its web site at

7. Use real music and not Greensleeves or “The bleeps”

The problem with most small telephone systems is that they come with a form of cheap canned music on hold included. This used to be a synthethised version of Greensleves or is a series of bleeps. With cheap DVD players, which have a CD playback facility available for around 35 ($55) equipment price should not prevent you from music in your call centre.

Published On: 2nd Apr 2005 - Last modified: 10th Nov 2017
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