The Science of the Music Keeping You On Hold
February 1, 2011 10:44 AM Subscribe
After sitting on hold with United for a few hours during this latest travelpocalypse, I've become deeply curious about the science of the music used when a caller is placed on hold. For example, at United, the hold music is "Rhapsody in Blue". Rather than being a lovely full recording of the piece, it is an incredibly scratchy partial recapitulation of the main theme that sounds as if it is being played on a phonograph. It skips, stops and starts, and sounds just terrible. But I found myself wondering, is the annoyance to keep the caller on edge? Are those sometimes looong skips and stops designed to keep me paying attention? While these observations come from United, I've noticed the same thing at other companies. Is there a real reason behind this?