Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: On-hold music

If you’ve ever called any place of business or customer service centre, chances are that you’ve been placed on hold. And chances are you’ve been subjected to music that’s supposed to keep you occupied while you’re being ignored. Who came up with that idea?

The concept of “on-hold” music first appeared in a patent in the spring of 1962 called “Telephone Hold Program System,” a way of curing the deadly silence while you were waiting to talk to someone. The concept was simple: if music is still playing, then you are still connected. And the way it came about was rather interesting.

The inventor of on-hold music discovered that the phone system at his business accidentally picked up a local radio station so when customers were put on hold, they heard music. That was all he needed to come up with his invention.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38300 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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