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There's a science behind good hold music, and here's what it sounds like

Ashleyanne Krigbaum

This month, the state opened its new health insurance marketplace, called Covered California. It’s a way for people who are uninsured to purchase health insurance plans that meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. 

On opening day, Covered California was busy. The website saw almost a million hits, and close to 60,000 people tied up their phone lines.  Waits of over 30 minutes were common.

And that made us wonder: why do we stay on the line so long?  To bring us the answer, KALW’s Daniel Moore talked to Vijay Kershnan – a marketing professor who studies the science of hold music. 

Take a listen to the hold music Covered California consumers heard and what Kershnan had to say about it:

And now hear the theory behind what makes good hold music -- and what it sounds like:

This interview was a part of KALW's regular sonic guessing game, Audiograph. To listen to the latest clue, recorded somewhere in the Bay Area, and try to guess what it is and where it was recorded, click here