On hold music for business is more than just background noise—it’s an essential part of customer service that keeps callers engaged and informed.
Choosing the right tracks can be challenging, but our guide makes it easy to find and license the best on-hold tunes to elevate your company’s call handling and reinforce your brand’s message.
Why You Should Use Hold Music for Business
With around 70% of business calls going on hold, every organization must use suitable songs to let the callers know they have got through and will be answered as soon as possible. This not only improves caller retention but is one big opportunity to enhance your brand identity as well.
While businesses with call centers will absolutely need tracks for hold music and a hold message, any business that takes calls from clients should consider it something important. This includes a virtual phone system.
Using music on hold also provides the opportunity to add recorded messages or offer alternative options to callers such as diverting to a specific department.
What Makes Good on Hold Music?
The genre of music on hold each business chooses should have a connection to the customer in some way. Depending on the type of business in question and the image they want to portray, it could be relaxing or inspirational, modern or classical.
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Another consideration is the waiting time. A tune with a long, slow introduction is not very effective customer service for a short wait time, while listening to monotonous music without variety in the melody won’t work well with a long wait time.
It is also good to mix up your songs and have a range of tracks so repeat callers are not listening to the same music again and again.
Our Methodology: How We Chose the Best On-Hold Music for Business
On-hold music is an often overlooked aspect of customer service that can shape a caller’s perception of a business. The right on-hold music can reduce perceived waiting times and enhance customer mood. In our search for the best on-hold music solutions for businesses, here’s the criteria we used:
Licensing and Legality (10/10)
Ensuring the music is legally compliant to be used as on-hold music is paramount. We only recommend music that is properly licensed for commercial use to avoid any legal issues.
Variety and Selection (9/10)
A diverse library that caters to different tastes and brand images is crucial. We look for sources that offer a wide range of genres and styles.
Sound Quality (9/10)
High-quality audio ensures clarity and enjoyment for callers. We prioritize music that is mastered well and free from any sound quality issues, even over phone lines.
The ability to tailor music tracks to fit the specific brand and caller demographics is valuable. We appreciate platforms that allow businesses to curate and customize their on-hold playlists.
Looping and Seamlessness (8/10)
Music that loops smoothly without noticeable gaps or jarring transitions can keep the on-hold experience pleasant. We focus on tracks and services that provide seamless looping.
Pricing Model (7/10)
The cost of on-hold music should be reasonable and scalable according to business size. We assess the pricing structures to ensure they offer good value for a range of business needs.
Ease of Integration (7/10)
On-hold music should be easy to integrate with existing phone systems. We value solutions that support various formats and offer straightforward setup processes.
Mood and Tempo (7/10)
Music that sets the right mood and is paced appropriately for on-hold scenarios is essential. We look for music that balances energy without being overstimulating.
Customer Support and Service (6/10)
Reliable customer support for any technical issues or licensing questions is important. We consider the level of support provided by the music service.
Royalty-Free Options (6/10)
While not always necessary, royalty-free options can simplify the licensing and reduce costs. We consider whether services offer royalty-free tracks as part of their selection.
Update Frequency (6/10)
Regularly updated music libraries keep the on-hold experience fresh and engaging for repeat callers. We take note of how often the music libraries are refreshed.
The choice of on-hold music is a significant touchpoint in customer interaction, reflecting a business’s attention to detail and its commitment to customer experience.
Our methodology is designed to aid businesses in finding music solutions that not only comply with legal standards but also resonate with their brand values and customer expectations.
Free On Hold Music Tracks for Business
Royalty-free music on hold means the artists do not claim any copyright on the tracks and thus no royalty is due to be paid for its use.
This allows anyone to use the music for their own purposes. There are a number of resources for finding royalty-free music online and below we take you through some of the best resources for finding free-hold music.
Easy On Hold
For businesses and call centers of every size, Easy On Hold provides a wide range of hold music to improve customer experiences. They have a lot of free and licensed hold music with a catalog that is continuously updated.
Beatsuite offers lots of 100% royalty-free tunes with flexible licenses. Your downloads will include all available edits and loops of the tracks you choose, plus their website connectivity allows downloads as MP3 or as uncompressed WAV audio.
Zendesk has created their own hold music titled ‘Four, as in X’ which can be downloaded for free by anyone and used for marketing or keeping all customers on the line.
Free Stock Music
Free Stock Music has lots of royalty-free music, though its audience is a lot more wide-ranging than just businesses looking for a hold song.
More Places to Find Music on Hold for Your Business Phone System
There are a few specialist websites based in the US and Canada where you can pay for high-quality music for on-hold and other information purposes. Below are a few of the best sites to consider.
Spectrio has an excellent range of on-hold tunes, letting people use suitable hold music as well as inform callers about revised opening hours, service changes and other updates. The company will also help you identify the right song to keep your customers entertained and engaged while they wait.
Mood Media offers emotionally stirring music and on-hold messaging on their web page. Their range of music samples includes pop, classical, guitar rock and country, as well as hip hop and electronic dance music. They also have categories such as religious and lounge, and special themes such as holiday music.
Melody Loops is an easy-to-use service where you can find many types of multi-use license and royalty-free background and call center music. As well as phone music, they provide tunes for videos, games, presentations and podcasts. Their Longoloops tool lets you create a melody loop or song of any length which you can then download a sample of to try.
Comparing Sources for Online Hold Music for Business
Selecting the perfect on-hold music for your business is crucial for enhancing customer experience. Below is a comparison table that outlines the best sources for obtaining on-hold music, whether free or paid, to help streamline your decision-making process.
|Easy On Hold
|Licensed & Royalty-Free
|Continuously updated catalog
|Includes edits/loops, MP3/WAV formats
|Free to use
|Custom created hold music
|Free Stock Music
|Varied Audience Use
|Wide-ranging royalty-free music
|On-hold messaging, service updates
|Emotional Stirring Music
|Diverse genres, messaging options
|Longoloops tool for customizable track length
Additional Things to Consider
When it comes to refining the customer call experience with hold music, choosing the right track is just the beginning. Here are some further considerations to ensure your on-hold music is effective:
When selecting the file type for your hold music, it’s important to balance audio quality with practicality. Lossless audio formats like WAV offer superior sound due to their uncompressed nature, which can provide a richer listening experience for your customers.
However, the larger file sizes may not be compatible with all phone systems, and they can also consume more storage space. If you’re constrained by system limitations or storage concerns, compressed formats such as MP3 files may be a more pragmatic choice.
While they may not match the pristine quality of lossless formats, they still deliver clear sound and are generally adequate for the limited fidelity of phone speakers.
Improvement of Sound Quality
Ensuring that your chosen hold music plays back optimally on your phone system is critical. Testing the playback for volume and clarity can prevent the music from becoming a source of irritation for callers.
The music should be at a pleasant volume, creating a comfortable auditory environment while callers wait. Additionally, the clarity of any voice messages played during the hold should be monitored; they must be audible over the music without being jarring.
It’s a delicate balance that, when struck, can make the wait time a more pleasant experience and reflect positively on the professionalism of your business.
Understanding and complying with the licensing requirements for hold music is essential to avoid legal complications. Even royalty-free music can have certain conditions attached to its use, such as attribution to the creator or limitations based on geography or context.
For instance, a track might be free for use in North America but require a fee elsewhere, or it might be restricted to non-commercial use. Ensuring you are fully aware of and compliant with these terms is crucial.
It’s also worth considering the potential need for additional licenses should your business expand or if the scope of the music’s use changes.
Making Sure You Update Your Hold Music Frequently
Regularly refreshing your hold music keeps the caller experience engaging and demonstrates that your company is attentive and dynamic. A change in music can be especially impactful during different seasons or holidays, fostering a connection with the cultural or seasonal context of the caller.
This ongoing update process also gives you the opportunity to react to feedback on the music choices and adjust accordingly. By doing so, you ensure that the hold music remains an effective touchpoint in your customer service strategy, rather than a neglected afterthought
On-Hold Music Implementation Checklist for Businesses
Before implementing on-hold music in your business communication system, it’s important to ensure that all bases are covered. Here’s a checklist of essential steps and considerations to keep in mind to make sure your on-hold music enhances your customer service effectively.
- Determine the type of music that aligns with your brand identity
- Ensure the music chosen is suitable for the average wait time
- Mix up songs to avoid repetition for frequent callers
- Check for royalty-free options to reduce costs
- Consider licensing requirements for the chosen tracks
- Opt for high-quality audio files that are compatible with your phone system
- Regularly test sound quality through your phone system
- Stay aware of licensing changes or requirements for public use
- Schedule regular updates to your music library to keep the content fresh
- Consider seasonal or holiday-themed music for relevancy
How do I Set Up Hold Music?
How you set up your hold music will depend on the phone system or telephone line technologies you are using. Usually, there will be a fairly simple process to follow to get it up and running, so look for something along these lines:
- Access Control Panel or Dashboard
- Select Systems or Phone Systems
- Enable Call Hold, Call Waiting and Call Park
How do I get on-hold music for my business?
You can get on hold music quickly and easily by searching for any of the free websites described above. You can then search on those websites for royalty-free music and download it immediately, then integrate it with your own technology.
How much does hold music cost?
The paid-for websites vary their prices depending on the level of service their customers want. Melody Loops, for example, charges around $35 for three tracks which you can use forever.
Other sites prefer the more expensive subscription model so you will need your email address and details to register at first, but your company will then have access to far more varieties of music and genres for your callers.
There are also websites that provide completely free royalty-free music, but of course, the range available will not be as extensive as the paid-for music.
What is the most common hold music?
The most common hold music song, which has become somewhat of an unofficial anthem for callers on hold, is “Opus Number One” by Tim Carleton and Darrick Deel. Despite its association with waiting, this piece of music has transcended its original purpose, gaining recognition in its own right.
It’s not uncommon to hear it in contexts outside of customer service scenarios, such as being featured by radio stations. Its notoriety has even spread to the internet, where you can find it on platforms like YouTube, with commenters often sharing nostalgic remarks about their time on hold.
This jazz-infused tune has become so widespread that it’s instantly recognizable to many who have ever waited on a customer service line. Have a listen here: