Cisco's Suddenly Hot Hold Music

'80s jam all the rage online

High tech ... meet smooth jazz.

It's funny to even write this sentence, but the "hold music" that pulses through phones throughout Cisco Systems is catching on with techies and music fans alike. And there's a cool story behind it.

The music (and if you think about it, it's literally been heard millions of times) sounds like a relic of the 1980's, and that's because it is. It was composed in 1989 by the duo of Tim Carleton and Darrick Deel. Carleton was all of 16; Deel went to work for Cisco. Deel, as legend has it, told Carleton that the composition should be Cisco's hold music.

The rest is history, still being played out on millions of phones.

YouTube is catching on, too. You can find lots of videos of people at work, cleaning the kitchen, etc., to the hold music. Turns out Michael Bolton isn't the only beneficiary of an 80's synth revival. Lots of people comment that they love the music, and keep it on in the background while they work.

This whole thing is kind of nuts, but Carleton and Deel take it all in stride. Instead of demanding royalties, Carleton has quietly favorited people having fun with the music on YouTube. Cisco, too, is being a good sport about it, talking with us, and "This American Life" about its suddenly hot hold music.

Give it a try, but beware: It's apparently VERY catchy.

Scott is on hold on Twitter: @scottbudman

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