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Music on Hold

Music on hold (MOH) refers to 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.

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 "analog" capability that allow music on hold for small and home based companies without a phone system.

The source of the music is usually from CDs or digital files such as MP3, but some older systems may still use cassette tapes (sometimes employing endless-loops), or reel-to-reel tape players.

Music on hold system scheme
Newer technology allows MP3 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.

The newest units as of 2009 allow productions to be downloaded and played through a USB thumb drive. This allows for larger files and higher quality formats.

The style of music played by MOH systems depends largely on the type of business offering the service. It is generally best to present music that will not be offensive to the audience, but that would also be of particular interest to the typical caller. For example, Express for Men usually plays Alternative rock. A western apparel store may choose to play country music. A Christian book store may choose to play popular Christian music. A university may choose to play classical music. Light classics, smooth jazz, and beautiful music are common choices, as is fully synthesized melodic music. [source : MOH]

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