branding message on hold music

The Art of Message-On-Hold Music Selection: Setting the Right Tone for Your Brand 

In the world of customer service, every interaction matters. From the moment a potential client dials your business number, the experience they have can significantly impact their perception of your brand. One often overlooked aspect of this customer journey is the message-on-hold experience. And while the spoken content of your Message-On-Hold program is clearly the star of the show as it conveys essential information to your callers, don’t underestimate the impact the program’s background music will have on the customer experience. Choosing the right on-hold music isn’t just about keeping callers entertained; it’s a strategic move to set the tone for your brand. Let’s explore the art of message-on-hold music selection and how it can enhance your brand image. 

Understanding Your Brand Identity: 

Before diving into the vast ocean of musical choices, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of your brand identity. Consider your company’s values, mission, and the emotions you want to evoke. Are you a tech-savvy start-up aiming for innovation, or a traditional brand with a focus on reliability and trust? Your on-hold music should align with these values. 

Defining the Customer Experience: 

Your message-on-hold music is an extension of your brand’s customer experience. Consider the emotions you want your customers to feel while waiting. Should they feel reassured, entertained, or motivated? If you’re a law firm, a classical piece might convey professionalism, while a tech company might opt for upbeat and modern tunes. 

Keeping Your Personal Preferences in Check: Catering to Your Callers’ Tastes 

While it’s natural to want to share your personal tastes, the art of selecting on-hold music requires a subtle shift from self-indulgence to audience consideration. Your callers are the ones in the holding pattern, not you. While you might be an avid fan of avant-garde jazz, it’s crucial to question whether this genre aligns with the preferences of your diverse audience. The aim is not to showcase your personal playlist but to enhance the waiting experience for your callers. Consider what will resonate positively with them during their on-hold time. The key is to strike a balance between expressing your brand identity and ensuring your customers find the musical backdrop enjoyable and fitting. It’s a thoughtful approach that places the audience’s experience at the forefront, turning your on-hold music into a harmonious component of the overall customer journey. 

Legal Considerations: 

While the desire to use popular songs or catchy jingles is understandable, it’s essential to be aware of copyright laws. Unlicensed use of copyrighted music can result in legal consequences. Opt for royalty-free music to ensure compliance. Consult with your Message-On-Hold provider, who will be able to offer you a wealth of music themes in a variety of genres, all licensed specifically for on-hold usage.  

Adapting to Different Call Scenarios: 

Not all on-hold moments are created equal. Perhaps your upfront greeting initially offers callers various menu options, placing them in distinct hold queues depending on the options selected. If you have multiple hold queues that serve specific types of callers, consider selecting different hold music for each queue, so that the compositions are appropriate in instrumentation, tempo, and overall tone for each type of caller.  

For example, if you have a General Inquiries queue where callers are holding for several minutes, you’ll want to avoid music that’s formulaic and repetitive and instead opt for compositions with a pleasant beat, a universally enjoyable tone, and a positive vibe that retains your callers’ attention. Likewise, if you have a Sales queue, you’ll want to provide tastefully upbeat, engaging music that maintains customer enthusiasm for your product/service, motivating callers to stay on the line for assistance. 

Tailor your on-hold music to suit these various situations, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable experience for each and every caller. 

Reflecting Seasonal and Promotional Changes: 

Your on-hold music can be a dynamic tool to reflect seasonal changes or ongoing promotions. Update your music selections accordingly to keep your messages fresh and relevant. This not only showcases your brand’s adaptability but also keeps customers engaged during wait times. 

Feedback and Analytics: 

Regularly gather feedback from customers about their on-hold experience. Use analytics to understand how long customers typically wait and adjust your music selections accordingly. If your customers express dissatisfaction with the on-hold experience, it might be time to reevaluate your choices. 


The art of message-on-hold music selection is a powerful tool in shaping the customer experience and reinforcing your brand identity. By aligning the music with your values, considering the customer journey, staying legally compliant, adapting to different scenarios, and embracing feedback, you can transform a seemingly mundane waiting period into an opportunity to strengthen your brand image. So, the next time you put a caller on hold, remember that the right musical selection isn’t just about filling the silence – it’s about enhancing your brand and leaving a positive, lasting impression. 

Key Takeaways: Enhancing Your Brand Through Message-On-Hold Music 

Brand Alignment: Start by understanding your brand identity—values, mission, and desired emotions. On-hold music should resonate with these aspects to create a consistent brand experience. 

Customer Experience Extension: Message-on-hold music is an extension of your brand’s customer experience. Choose music that aligns with the emotions you want your customers to feel while waiting—whether reassured, entertained, or motivated. 

Prioritize Audience Enjoyment Over Personal Preferences: When choosing on-hold music, it’s essential to prioritize your audience’s enjoyment over personal preferences. While sharing your musical tastes can be tempting, remember that your callers are the ones on hold. Ensure that the selected music resonates positively with a diverse audience. The goal is not to showcase your individual preferences but to enhance the overall waiting experience for your customers. 

Legal Compliance: Be aware of copyright laws when selecting on-hold music. To avoid legal consequences, consult with your Message-On-Hold provider to acquire compositions specifically licensed for on-hold usage. 

Scenario-Specific Selections: Tailor on-hold music to different call scenarios. Consider different compositions for various queues to match the instrumentation, tempo, and overall tone with each type of caller, ensuring a seamless and harmonious experience. 

Seasonal and Promotional Adaptability: Keep your on-hold music dynamic by reflecting seasonal changes or ongoing promotions. Regular updates highlight brand adaptability and keep customers engaged during wait times. 

Feedback and Analytics: Gather customer feedback regularly to understand their on-hold experience. Use analytics to assess wait times and adjust music selections accordingly. Dissatisfaction signals a need to reevaluate your choices. 

Transformative Power: Recognize the transformative power of message-on-hold music in shaping the customer experience and reinforcing brand identity. It goes beyond filling silence; it’s about leaving a positive, lasting impression on callers. 

Remember, by incorporating these key considerations into your message-on-hold music strategy, you can turn what might seem like a mundane waiting period into a strategic opportunity to strengthen your brand image and build positive associations with your customers. 

FAQs: Fine-Tuning Your Message-On-Hold Music Selection 

Q1: Why is on-hold music selection crucial for a brand’s image? 

A1: On-hold music is an integral part of the customer experience. It sets the tone for your brand, influencing how callers perceive your business. The right music aligns with your brand identity, creating a positive, enduring impact. 

Q2: How can I balance my personal music preferences with what my callers might like? 

A2: While it’s natural to have personal preferences, the focus should shift to audience consideration. Don’t neglect keeping your callers in mind when selecting on-hold music. Strive for a balance between expressing your brand identity and ensuring the music resonates positively with your diverse audience. 

Q3: Are there legal considerations when choosing on-hold music? 

A3: Absolutely. Using copyrighted music without proper licensing can lead to legal consequences. Seek the advice of your Message-On-Hold provider to obtain compositions specifically licensed for on-hold usage, ensuring compliance with copyright laws. 

Q4: Why is it essential to adapt on-hold music to different call scenarios? 

A4: Not all on-hold moments are the same. Tailoring music to different queues ensures that compositions match the caller’s needs, creating a seamless and enjoyable experience. It adds a personalized touch, keeping callers engaged and satisfied. 

Q5: How can I use on-hold music to reflect seasonal changes or promotions? 

A5: Update your on-hold music selections to align with seasonal changes or ongoing promotions. This displays your brand’s adaptability, keeping messages fresh and relevant. It’s a dynamic tool to maintain customer engagement during wait times. 

Q6: How do I gather feedback on my on-hold music selections? 

A6: Regularly seek feedback from customers about their on-hold experience. Use analytics to understand wait times and adjust music selections accordingly. If dissatisfaction is expressed, it’s a signal to reevaluate your choices and enhance the overall on-hold experience. 

Q7: Can on-hold music really transform the customer experience? 

A7: Absolutely. The transformative power of on-hold music lies in its ability to shape the customer experience and reinforce brand identity. It’s not just about filling silence; it’s about leaving a positive, enduring impression on callers, making the most of a seemingly mundane waiting period. 

music overhead announcements small business

4 Audio Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

Small businesses working with limited resources are often overshadowed by competition from larger businesses with larger marketing budgets. And yet, small businesses need to outshine competitors and distinguish themselves from the rest, just like the big guys. So what to do? By incorporating affordable yet effective audio solutions such as Message On Hold, Overhead Announcements, Background Music, and Podcasts, small businesses can match their larger competitors when it comes to brand awareness, customer communication, and customer satisfaction.

Message on Hold

First impressions are extremely important to small businesses. The chances of your Message On Hold being a prospect’s first impression of your business is likely, therefore should be capitalized on. By incorporating a professional and informative hold message into your business’s marketing tactics you can enhance the perceived image of your brand.  And during call transfers and peak hours, an effective on hold message has the potential to decrease caller hang-ups and keep callers on the line longer, ready to do business.

Small Business Message On Hold Ideas:

  • Tell callers about current or upcoming sales.
  • Explain what makes your business unique from competitors.
  • Answer FAQ’s.
  • Announce time-sensitive information like upcoming events or limited time offers.
  • Introduce new products.
  • Provide alternate forms of communication like where callers can find you on social media.


A podcast is another word for audio blog. Content is delivered in an interesting, informative message that packages content and personality. Providing your target audience with useful podcasts will increase the opportunity to build a following and reach your clients and prospects. Podcasts are extremely affordable and effective. The more creative and engaging you are, the better!

 Small Business Podcast Ideas:

  • Answer FAQ’s
  • Interview an industry expert
  • Give information on upcoming events, products, or services.
  • Turn your company newsletter into a podcast. Talk about what has been going on at your company.
  • Give listeners a set of tips about a particular topic related to your business.

Overhead Announcements

For retail stores, or businesses where customers are often physically present, overhead announcements are an effective marketing tool used to target the already captive audience–in-store or onsite customers. This particular audience is already interested in what your business offers, so overhead announcements serve as the perfect marketing opportunity to further engage them.

Small Business Overhead Announcements Ideas:

  • Promote new products or services.
  • Market a product or service that can potentially cause a significant financial gain or higher profit margin.
  • Business branding
  • Announce current or upcoming sales.
  •  Inform customers about your business hours, or holiday schedules.

Background Music

For retail stores, or certain types of businesses, background music can be a productive element. If overhead announcements are not appropriate for a retail store, music is still a viable and desirable option. Music triggers emotional responses. In a retail business setting, the emotional response can enhance the shopping experience. Background music should be chosen based on the theme of your store, and should fit the interests of customer demographics, and the products and services you offer.

Background Music Information:

  • If the customer likes the music your business is playing, they are more likely to stay in your store longer and come back more often.
  • Music played loudly and at a fast tempo with increase perceived time duration. If customers are waiting in line at the register or fitting rooms, the wait time may seem longer than it actually is.
  • Softer and slower music are responded to more positively than louder and faster music.
  • Rhythm and tempo have the greatest influence on shopper experience.

Small businesses can captivate and impress potential customers using these and other audio marketing strategies.  If it can be communicated via sight, the same message can probably be communicated through sound, either to reinforce or to reach people in a non-visual setting. With professionally produced audio messages you will reach and influence more potential customers, stand out from the competition, and help your small business grow.

music presentations voice over

Taking Your Presentations To The Next Level With Audio and Voice

Our world has become increasingly more digitized and with that has come a greater focus on the visual. Whether on social media (Instagram) or home entertainment (TV’s with OLED and 4K technology)–we are used to being visually stimulated. Now your average company presentation, with its tired PowerPoint slides and 1980’s clip art just won’t cut it anymore.

message on hold music resources

Message on Hold: Music & Your Brain

Ever hear that one song, and as soon as it comes on you want to start dancing? The affect music has on our brains is undeniable. Music affects our brains so much that it has become popularized for therapy. Parents have even been encouraged to teach children how to play an instrument to increase brain function. With new research coming out about music, it’s surprising that it is used so little in the customer service experience. Learn how you can utilize Music on Hold in your business to calm, and encourage your target audience.

licensing message on hold music

Permission to Use Music – On Hold

We often get inquires about using popular music on hold. Of course, you can certainly use whatever type of music you want on hold, but be warned you must have proper permissions and licensing. Music licensing is no joke! I’ve taken the time to share a guide of what is required to play music on hold. In this case I’m theoretically (and befittingly)  trying to get the rights to the song “On Hold” by The XX.   If you never heard it, here’s a link to the video where you can check it out! Step One- Find the Rights to the Song

licensing message on hold music

Myths & Misunderstandings About Music on Hold Licensing

Myth: “I can use this music for free because I found it on the internet”.

customer experience music overhead announcements

The Right Choice in Music Can Lead to More Efficient Business

While the old train of thought was to keep customers in your store longer to increase a chance of purchase, a keen observer of how their business works will notice that isn’t always true. Often it’s more a case of the customers speed in moving through a store. In that area, selecting the right overhead business music can help you make the customers experience more efficient without sales decreasing.


customer experience music podcast

Podcast: Does Background Music Improve Customer Experience?

The customer experience begins with the first interaction of your brand or organization. If your customers are engaging with your company in a physical space, like a store, restaurant or waiting area their experience will be positively or negatively impacted by the quality of the environment.  Is the presentation of your setting favorable?  Is it clean and inviting?  Does it have visual interest that’s engaging like digital signage or decor reflective of your image? Are you using sound to elevate the customer experience? 

By evaluating your venue from all aspects and making positive adjustments, you will improve the customer experience.  An often overlooked element of customer experience is background music and the role it plays in how well a customer finds their interaction to be.  Choosing appropriate overhead music can have an effect on customer behavior.  Volume, tempo and genre are key factors which have an effect on behavior as found in a study done regarding “Effects of background music on Concentration of workers”.  Be sure to choose a business music service which has the music content to suit your target audience. When done correctly the right overhead music can boost your business.

customer experience music overhead announcements

How the Right Overhead Music Can Boost Your Business


There are a lot of components to a great business. Great customer service, a great location, and a great product are all key factors in determining the overall success of your business. But one often overlooked feature that can keep customers returning is the right choice of overhead music. From grocery stores to restaurants to calls placed on hold, here are some ways that music can help (or hurt) your business. These ideas come from an article on Business Insider, which references an academic article published in European Journal of Scientific Research

music overhead announcements tips

How Do You Choose The Right Business Music For Your Company?

We all have been in stores and restaurants where some type of music is playing in the background.  Sometimes we like it and sometimes we don’t. So, how do you go about choosing the right business music for your company?