You’ll know it if you hear it. Cisco On Hold Music

In case you didn’t already know, we’re pretty big on On Hold Music. We aren’t the silent type; we like both music and talking equally, and knowing that if we’re on hold, our call hasn’t been swallowed up into the silent abyss.

You’re probably quite familiar with some of the classic on hold tunes (think Greensleeves and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons), and today we’ll be discussing corporate phone giant Cisco’s on hold music.

No one wants to be on hold but it’s become a necessary evil, so you might get the chance to listen to a piece of music which, you might not realise, now has a cult following. In 1989 a song was composed which would change on hold music for ever. Behold Cisco’s On Hold Music.

Composed in 1989 by Tim Carleton, his friend Darrick Deel began working for Cisco back in the 90s and contacted Carleton to excitedly tell him that the forgotten track he’d recorded nearly ten years prior, was perfect for Cisco’s default on hold music.



Dubbed as the ultimate background music, if just a subtle reminder that things are still ticking over, the track was quickly uploaded to 65 million IP phones; quite an impressive feat to go from a forgotten track to being listened to multiple times a day, whenever someone was placed on hold at various companies or call centres. Deel estimates that around 1 million people hear this track a day – we think it’s probably even more.

Weirdly Cisco’s music has ventured away from being simply on hold music, into that sort of song that irritates you when you first hear it then grows on you until you find yourself foot tapping and humming along to it when you’re out and about.

What is it about music that grabs our attention and stirs something in us? Well it’s all very sciency, and about linking music to our emotions. We like that music is universal, available for anyone to enjoy without language barriers and that it makes us happy. As Tolstoy said, “music is the shorthand of emotion.”

Music and On Hold Marketing shouldn’t simply be about distracting your customers before they’re connected to your advisors.  You should have a hold over your customer, keeping their attention and making their call to you memorable, even in the supposedly ‘boring’ bit of on hold. Whilst music can be seen as a distraction by some, others find it helps you focus; either way it needs to be entertaining and deter your customers from hanging up!

So how can you rival the track that so many people unwittingly love? Opus No. 1 as the Cisco track is known, is the ultimate ear worm but if you’re looking for something with less 90s vibes then we have just the thing!

For the full story watch the video here



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