Stuck on hold to your local council? Your spirits will be lifted by Lighthouse Family and Simply Red

Simply Red, Lighthouse Family and Katie Melua tracks are especially effective, according to Lincolnshire County Council

Middle-of-the-road pop songs by Simply Red and the Lighthouse Family are the most effective aural accompaniment to keep people hanging on the telephone, a local authority has discovered.

Lincolnshire County Council said the number of people who hang up while on hold has more than halved since it replaced traditional "hold music" with commercial tracks.

Vintage "beige-pop" hits by Lighthouse Family, Simply Red, Katie Melua and Billy Ocean are among the tracks credited with improving customer satisfaction levels at the local authority.

The number of people who hang up while on hold has more than halved since Lincolnshire became one of a handful to have ditched classical "hold" music, jingles and recorded messages in favour of easy-listening chart songs, which require royalty payments to the Performing Rights Society (PRS).

Councillor Richard Davies, executive member for highways at Lincolnshire County Council, said: "People can be kept waiting for a few minutes at peak times so we use commercial songs for our on-hold music. Quite frankly, our callers love it.

"It costs just £175 per year and since we introduced it, we have reduced our abandoned call rate by half - from 4,000 calls per month to just 1,600."

However Mr Davies recognised the wide damage that inflicting 90s pop-soul duo The Lighthouse Family on taxpayers may have caused. He said: "I would, however, like to take this opportunity to apologise for our use of the Lighthouse Family's 'Ocean Drive'. I accept this was a deplorable lapse in judgement and we deserve all the criticism we get. In our defence, it was either that or M People's 'Moving On Up'."

A Freedom of Information Act request by the Press Association to 150 authorities found that 120 paid nearly £6.5 million between them to the PRS for background music during a three-and-a-half-year period.

This covered playing music in council buildings such as schools and children's homes, as well as concert venues. More than a dozen authorities have also paid royalties for their hold music, costing up to £300,000 between them since January 2010.

Royalty-free pieces by classical composers were popular with councils, with Mozart the most frequently-heard artist.

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council pays just over £2,000 annually for music, with its telephone system using tracks including Tom Jones' "She's A Lady", "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol and "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John.

Doncaster Council spends about £1,000 a year on hold music, where customers are greeted with ditties by American pop star Christina Perri and swinger Michael Buble's "I Just Haven't Met You Yet".

Most authorities either use a royalty-free track built into their telephone service or simply leave their customers waiting in silence.

Mozart’s works ARE music to councils’ ears

Mozart has also been heralded as the king of hold music for councils. A survey of around 120 councils showed more authorities selected the Austrian composer’s work over any other musician’s to keep taxpayers hanging on the telephone.

Selections from Debussy, Handel and Strauss also featured. Mozart’s Symphony No 40 and “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” were deemed the most suitable by council bosses. The fact that the work is out of copyright, and therefore does not command a fee, may have something to do with the selection.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

    Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

    In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
    Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

    How has your club fared in summer sales?

    Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
    Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

    'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

    Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
    The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

    The best swim shorts for men

    Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
    Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

    Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

    Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup