Music on hold can be used for various telephone activities. It can be played when the caller is placed on hold or when their call is being forwarded to another internal participant. Call centres frequently play music when callers are on hold and queuing or while waiting to be put through to a further participant. Some systems support music on hold instead of a ringtone. Here, when a caller sets up a call, instead of the normal ring tone, they hear music being played until a successful connection is made.
Depending on the type of telephone system, music on hold may be set up in different ways. With older models, it is often possible to connect a playback device, for example, a CD player, on which the desired music is played. Many systems offer the option of selecting music directly from a memory chip in the system. Modern cloud telephone systems generally allow users to upload music digitally, over the network, in the form of a sound file.
It should be noted that royalty fees for playing licensed music are payable under certain circumstances. To save these costs, so-called royalty-free music is often used for music on hold. In addition, there are a number of companies that specialise in the professional production of individual and tailor-made music on hold for companies.