Cisco’s Default Hold Music Was Composed By a 16-Year-Old Computer Nerd

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If you’ve been put on hold at some point in the past 25 years, there’s a good chance you'll recognize this song. 

In the '90s it became the default hold music for Cisco, the most popular purveyor of phone systems in the world. While many people associate hold music with boredom and frustration, this soothing number eventually found its way onto the Internet and developed something of a cult following.

The song’s composer remained anonymous until This American Life reporter Sara Corbett tracked him down in 2014. The “musician" is actually an IT guy named Tim Carleton, and he recorded the song on a four-track in his garage when he was 16 years old.

That was in 1989. Sometime in the '90s, a high school friend who had gone on to work for Cisco called him up to ask how he’d feel about the song becoming the default hold music for their new IP phones. Carleton agreed, and after 65 million IP phones sold, “Opus No. 1” has become one of the most widely-heard earworms that no one ever intended to listen to. 

You can learn more about Carleton’s story over at This American Life

[h/t: The Atlantic