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Music on hold (MOH) is the business practice of playing recorded music to fill the silence that would be heard by telephone callers who have been placed on hold. It is especially common in situations involving customer service.

Music on hold is sometimes referred to as Audio Branding, Phone on hold, On Hold Marketing, Message on hold, On hold messaging, Info on hold, etc.


A number of studies have been conducted, which highlight consumer perceptions of music on hold, reinforcing its use by businesses to improve standards of call handling.

A survey of more than 2,000 UK consumers commissioned by audio branding specialist revealed 70% of consumers are put on hold for more than 50% of their calls. When put on hold, 73% of callers want to hear something other than beeps or silence and a further 76% preferred to hear something other than just music.


Most MOH systems are integrated into a telephone system designed for businesses via an audio jack on the telephone equipment labeled "MOH". There are also some units with built-in message on hold capabilities and units designed for small businesses without an extensive phone system.

Music and messages on hold are played using either physical or virtual media.

Legacy systems that supports physical media usually plays CDs. Equipment that supports virtual media generally plays MP3 files. Several types of units play these files. USB Flash Drive units allow an MP3 file to be received electronically, downloaded to a flash drive and connected to the player. Ethernet based remote load units connect via the network to a remote IP address. Phone line based remote load systems allow for a connection via an analog telephone line and dialing the number belonging to the unit. For VoIP phone systems, MP3s are loaded without any equipment.

Newer technology allows audio files to be downloaded automatically from the internet so that messages (or interesting content in the form of news and weather, amongst many) can be changed daily. The new "online on hold" technology makes the older technology redundant since it requires no additional hardware. All these systems allow analog-to-digital audio storage and playback.