Excessively Haunting Hold Music

Ugh, I’ve never heard any good hold music. I suppose there’s a manipulative psychological strategy behind most of what gets chosen for it.

Schlozman works at Massachusetts general hospital in Boston. He wrote his letter last spring for the CommonHealth newsletter, which is published by WBUR, Boston’s NPR news radio station. It duly stoked a national debate, which spiralled to the point of the doctor humming the jingle on US morning TV.

“Please change your hold music,” he wrote. “Please. Do the right thing. I hear it in my sleep. I hear it when I go running. Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night humming that melody. It haunts me day and night. It’s not healthy. I know. I’m a doctor.”…

“I am 52 years old,” he wrote, “so that means that I have spent 25 days out of my 18,980 days on this planet listening to that piano piece.”


Okay, it’s far from the worst hold music I’ve heard, but we as a civilization need to shift to using visual cues to let people know they’re still on hold.

“Am I still on hold? Have I not been dropped? I’ll just glance at the phone and see if the visual hold cue is still blinking and then return my attention to this banana while I listen to my own playlist.”

It ain’t rocket science. Surely even we in our sorry multidystopian failure mode can achieve this.

Actually, a blinking banana would make a pretty good hold cue.


Yes, a holographic one! Then I wouldn’t really mind being on hold so much, since I could sit there and just…look at it.


I’d buy from a business that asked me to listen to this while holding.


I think in a lot of cases it comes down to licensing, and nobody wanting to pay for hold music.

Maybe someone enterprising could work out a deal where people would want to call just to be put on hold, but I suppose that might impede whatever the original purpose of the business was, unless it was music.


Argument from an other angle.


Temporary fix, until holographic bananas are here:


This song plays on the hold music every time I call to book an appointment for my dog to stay at the kennel while I’m out of town. So whatever context this piano tune had when written, for me, it’s my “feeling sad for my dog” music.

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