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.
Watch the new House of Cards series three trailerTV
Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards
Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
- 3 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 Average penis size revealed: Scientists attempt to find what is 'normal' to reassure concerned men
Kurt Cobain's life and death: Montage of Heck film uses unseen footage to tell Nirvana frontman's story
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Drugs Live: Twitter responds to Jon Snow and Jennie Bond smoking cannabis
Jimmy McGovern's new TV series 'Banished': Why Australia's past has such resonance today
The Walking Dead, Remember, review: The discovery of a new community leads Rick to a dark decision
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'