Article

Hold the line—your new hold music has arrived

There are plenty of places to get high-quality on hold music for cheap—or even free.

By Patrick Grieve

Published February 26, 2018
Last modified July 21, 2020

Finding the perfect hold music isn’t easy. You don’t want to leave your customers hanging with nothing to listen to, but you also don’t want to hold them hostage to obnoxious elevator Muzak. There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing the perfect song, which we took into account when writing our own hold music:

Anyone can download our song “Four, as in X” for free to use on their phone system.

While we’re partial to our own composition, we understand that some people may like more options for their hold music. Luckily, there are plenty of other royalty-free tracks available online—some of which are also 100% free to download!

For your customers’ listening pleasure, we’ve compiled a list of the best resources for free on-hold music and affordable royalty-free hold music.

Where to find 100% free hold music

In addition to our own “Four, as in X,” there are many other free on-hold music tracks that you can download and use without paying a penny. Here are some sites hosting complimentary tunes your customers may enjoy.

Musopen Music Discovery Tool

If you’re feeling classical, this is a great resource for downloading the works of great composers. You can search and sort the massive database by composer, instrumentation, time period, and other tags. Or you can simply filter songs by mood categories, such as “Relaxing” and “Happy.”

Create a free “Lite” account and you’ll be able to download up to five MP3 tracks a day. All of the music is royalty- and copyright-free, but be sure to double-check the licensing requirements for any song you select. Some selections may require an author credit.

Hold music recommendation: There’s almost too many to choose from, but we like “Blauen Donau,” by Johann Strauss II, a calm, melodic waltz that many callers will recognize from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Birchills

The UK-based telecommunications company Birchills created 12 non-copyrighted instrumental tracks that are free to download as MP3 files.

Though these songs do tend to sound a bit generic, cuts like “Bright Sunshine” and “Reflections” are admittedly catchy.

Hold music recommendation: If you’re looking for a song that has earworm potential but isn’t overly repetitive, the “Morning Coffee” track from Birchills is a great pick. With its pleasant mix of piano and guitar, it should help keep customers from getting too impatient while they wait.

CDK Global

The Illinois-based software company CDK Global created six MP3 tracks that are free to download and use. The songs run three to four minutes in length and are all classified as classical guitar, country, easy listening, or smooth jazz.

The sound quality isn’t great, but if you’re looking for something that’s nice and simple, this might be the no-frills sound you want.

Hold music recommendation: The spare acoustic solo “Classico” has the cleanest sound, but the electric-guitar-led jam “Oceanside” is the biggest toe-tapper of the bunch.

Where to find affordable, high-quality hold music

If you’re willing to pay for hold music, you can certainly expand the musical options available to you. Here are some of the best and most reasonably priced options, none of which requires you to pay additional licensing subscription fees.

MelodyLoops

MelodyLoops boasts a large selection of royalty-free on-hold music. There are more than 450 tracks to choose from, running the gamut from electronic pop to acoustic folk.

The site also provides a helpful breakdown of download compatibilities to let you know which WAV files work best with certain popular telephone systems.

The pricing for song downloads starts at $29 for three tracks.

Hold music recommendation: The loungey and irresistibly named “Candy Jazz” is both elegant and relaxing—though pretty short at just 52 seconds. If you need something longer, try the more modern sounds of “Bold Dreams.”

Amazon Music

Amazon carries an album called “Music On Hold,” with selections that run the gamut, from soft piano ballads with background nature sounds to covers of classical compositions.

It costs $9.99 (or $7.99 if you’re a Prime member) for 36 tracks—all of which are also individually available for $0.89 each. The songs are also only available as MP3 downloads, so you may need to convert them if your phone system requires a different file format.

The album is well produced and extremely affordable, but the tracks tend to be on the slow, sad side.

Hold music recommendation: The best-selling track on the album appears to be Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Pathétique Sonata”—perhaps because its second movement is basically a royalty-free cover of Billy Joel’s “This Night.”

Find royalty-free hold music with these online resources

There are many factors to consider when picking out hold music for your company. Hopefully, the resources and recommendations we’ve provided here will help save you some time in your search for the perfect song.

At the end of the day, finding the best hold music should be just one small part of your broader mission to keep customers happy. To learn more about creating better customer experiences, check out the complete guide to customer service.

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