“I had been on hold with the IRS for 30 minutes when I noticed that the music wasn’t driving me crazy,” writes Anne Midgette in Thursday’s (1/3) Washington Post. “Given that … tens of millions of people call the agency every year, its hold music has a fair claim to being one of the most-heard pieces of music in the world. What a great opportunity. Or what a frustrating waste.… Royalty-free music, or RFM, is a multimillion-dollar business…. Getty Images Music … has a large catalogue of 30- and 60-second pieces of music…. Unlimited use of one of these tracks costs $50…. In many cases, the creators of individual pieces seem to have been forgotten. The IRS’s hold music is called ‘One to One.’ … The IRS last changed its hold music in 2009 [after getting] complaints about its previous hold music: excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Nutcracker.’… IRS callers, evidently, found it … too seasonal…. Fortunate, indeed, is the company that has already some branded content it can call its own: When you call customer service at The Post, you are treated to ‘The Washington Post March.’ ”

Posted January 4, 2019