This Song Has Been Played More Than Despacito

– Hey, guys! This is the most popular song
that you’ve never heard of. Now, almost everyone
has had the experience of sitting on hold. You watch as the minutes,
and later hours, tick by, as someone finally will tell you that your washing
machine is in fact broken and that they’re not
going to take a return. However, have you ever wondered why the hold music you listen
to always seems so familiar? (“Opus No. 1” by Tim Carleton) Cast yourself all the
way back to the 1950s and it was a very different
experience to be on hold. Not only were you dealing
with a switchboard operator who would basically just jump
on the phone every few minutes to make sure that, yes,
you are still on hold, but other than that, it was pure silence. That is, until 1962, when a
factory had improper wiring, with their phone line
touching a steel girder, which then functioned as a radio antenna. All of this led up to the fact that when you called and were put on hold, instead of hearing silence,
you heard the radio. It sounds crazy, but this was
actually the very first time that hold music was used. The 60s were a very a very different time. The owner of the factory, Albert Levy, initially thought that it was a problem. However, amazingly enough, people preferred to listen to actual music as opposed to pure silence, and he quickly capitalized on that. By 1966, he had it patented, and by then, the era of
hold music was on us. Now, most people would
agree that hearing something is better than nothing, but there’s actually a lot of psychology that goes into making
just the right hold music. And a lot of that has to do
with why a specific track has been played many, many times. Companies will spend a
lot of time and money picking just the right hold music, which actually has been shown to make some serious differences to things like higher customer
satisfaction, higher sales, and, well, less insanity and anger when someone finally actually gets through to the person they’re trying to talk to. If you can’t tell, I don’t
like being put on hold, but I don’t think anyone does, so. Now, you might think the simple approach is just to play popular music. But there’s a lot of issues with that. First of all, it’s easy to tell
how long you’ve been on hold when you’ve heard the
sixth different song. There’s also going to be
copyright and licensing issues, and most importantly of all, a lot of music just
doesn’t sound very good when it’s compressed over the phone. Generally speaking,
companies pick something that’s poppy and upbeat, but a little bit on the neutral side. You gotta think that there are tons and tons of companies out there. Sure, something that’s
gonna be exciting and fun might work for, say, a dance company, but it definitely wouldn’t
work for a funeral home. Which brings us to Opus No. 1, the song that has been played billions and billions of times. I mean, come on, you’ve heard this track
before on the phone, right? In the early 90s, a relatively new company called Cisco was getting on the scene. Now, naturally, they wanted to have some default hold music to
ship with their phones. Do you see where I’m going here? Over 65 million Cisco units
have been shipped worldwide, all of them loaded up with Opus No. 1 as default hold music, and you better believe
that a lot of companies have never changed that. Cisco claims that over a
million people are put on hold with their systems every day. Now, if you average
that out over 30 years, it is easy to assume that Opus No. 1 has been played back
about 9 billion times. To put that in context, the most popular video on
YouTube right now, Desposito, has 5.4 billion views. Now, I guess it’s not a
completely fair comparison, as supposedly those people actually chose to listen to Desposito, but I know I definitely
didn’t choose to listen to Opus No. 1 when I was on hold
for an hour last week, so. So where did this unbelievably
popular song come from? Well, Opus No. 1 was
actually written and recorded by a 16-year-old named
Tim Carleton back in 1989. Carleton recorded the piece
on a 4-track tape recorder in his parents’ garage. You know, where all of the
most popular pieces of music in human history are made. For over a decade, only two people had a copy of Opus No. 1. Carleton, and his friend, Darrick Deel, who just so happened to be a head engineer of the phone system over at Cisco. When Deel started looking for hold music, Opus No. 1 actually ended up
being a really perfect fit. The song is upbeat but mellow, it’s easily loopable, which is important when
people are listening to this for long periods of time. It’s also kind of catchy. I mean, Matt’s been listening to it for the last three hours straight. Despite having just as much exposure, if not more, than huge
bands like The Beatles, surprise, surprise, the hold music did not make Tim Carleton
a household name. In fact, Carleton licensed
the song to Cisco for free. So the guy who made one of the most popular songs of all time has never seen a single cent for it. So the next time you’re sitting on hold and you hear the sweet,
sweet sounds of Opus No. 1, feel assured that you’re
actually listening to one of the most popular pieces of music ever created by humans.

100 thoughts on “This Song Has Been Played More Than Despacito

  1. i have never heard this and im 13 and i lived in america for all these years dont remeber a single time ever hearing this song never! i used to always be with my mom and listen to her phone conversations with the bank or whatever and when they put her on hold all i hear is either country music, classical, or something else but never ever have i heard this song in my entire!!!! LIFE!!!!

  2. I just looked it up, and I've never heard Opus #1. I usually hear some elevator music or similar. But I've literally never even heard this track until this video.

  3. This is Austin's channel?! When I at first saw Austin I thought it was just a parody but as the video progressed I understand that This IS Austin's other channel

  4. Oh I thought you were gonna say “Hey guys this is Austin and today we will make (whatever tech)”

    Like if you remember that intro in a very different channel

  5. Hey guys it’s Austin and today we have an unbox of ……
    Others : hey this didn’t worked seeing you from 4 yrs
    Austin: hold my beer

  6. I have worked as a call center agent for several years now, for different companies too. I always get at least one call a day where someone tells me they hate the hold music.

  7. Yeah, this is one of my favorite songs. I listen to it about every day. I'm not sure if there exists a number that just plays the song(like the Rick Roll hotline), and I don't know which companies play it. But, I do have a Google Voice number set up that plays about 45 seconds towards the end of this song as its voicemail. I had incoming calls disabled on it so it will just play. I wish I could get it to play the whole song though over the phone without having to call my number from a computer from the Google Voice number and use the internal audio or being put on hold with some company.

  8. We have CISCO units where I work… and we actually did change the music and licensed a CD as wait music too. Unsurprisingly it's Yanni's live at the Acropolis.

  9. I listen to this song all the time. The funny thing is though, I am not sure if I’ve ever been put on hold with this music. I probably have but can’t tell for certain. I do have funny ways of listening to this with a phone line though. I have my voicemail on Google Voice set up to play 45 seconds towards the end of the song(since you can’t have it over 45 seconds) and disabled incoming calls. I also am able to call my phone with Google Voice on my computer and play anything I want in phone quality audio.

  10. I've heard the Classical Music in the Verizon Ringback tone while my party as reach a lot more often than Opus #1. Also, Opus is a Latin word meaning work.

  11. I'm going to show you a story.
    I live in Chile as always in my entire life, and all of the internet providers have pop music as the hold music.
    Like Entel (Imagine Dragons- Thunder) and Movistar( Train-Hey,Soul Sister)
    but i've never heard about Opus N°1

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