How "on hold" music is creating unlikely celebrities

If you've had an issue with any delivery, called any utility, or questioned any bill or service — chances are you've been told to hold.

Just the other day, I was on hold with my phone company so long, my kids choreographed a dance to the music. Four hours — plus!

Ron Schott is an "on hold" expert. He counsels companies on "hold" protocols, and he says he's never felt more needed.

"Because of the pandemic, hold time has expanded," he said. 

Of course, these companies like to remind us — on a loop — that our call is important to them. Over a lifetime, the average American spends 43 days waiting for someone to pick up the darn phone.

Fortunately, some people are making the most of it. One YouTuber rates hold music. Another guy choreographs dances to classics, like Xerox.

Extended hold times have also made cult celebrities out of the most unlikely musicians.

"I listened to your song 4 hours straight," I told Benedic Lamdin, who created the hold music I listened to while waiting for my phone company to answer.

"That's probably longer than I had to listen to making it," he replied. 

But Lamdin says he would gladly sacrifice his newfound fame for good old-fashioned customer service.

"Maybe they should just hire a few more people to answer the phone," he said. 

"So you'd like to be out of a job?" I asked.

"Oh, that would be great," he replied. 

And who would disagree — except, of course, our "on hold " expert — who insists he enjoys waiting.

"Actually, I get kind of excited because I start taking notes…" Schott said. 

He gets excited? Let's see how he feels in 4 hours.


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  • Steve Hartman
    Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.