Musician gets so bored waiting on a call he transcribes the hold music and goes viral

An unavoidable part of modern life is spending long periods of time on hold while on the phone – but what do you to do keep yourself occupied?

Well, one bored musician made the most of the situation by transcribing HMRC’s famous hold music while he waited.

Spent so long on hold today that I transcribed it before they picked up.

Alan Drever-Smith, a musician from Hull, said he found himself on hold for 20 minutes while trying to find out some information about his tax code.

“I had Sibelius, a music notation software, open and decided to entertain myself by transcribing the hold music,” he said.

The 25-year-old posted the image on Facebook where it picked up a host of likes and shares, but its popularity really spiked this week when someone put it on Reddit where it received more than 20,000 upvotes.

“I’m really pleasantly surprised that it took off like this, I occasionally chuck similar fun things onto my Facebook account to little attention, but this clearly resonated with everyone and quickly spread,” Alan said.

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“My only regret is that I didn’t really put much attention to detail into it – my normal work is much more thorough! I knew straight away I’d made mistakes like the ‘ad Nauseam’ spelling and didn’t bother adding much detail except the melody.”

Over on Reddit, Alan got a lot of sympathy – especially from accountants and tax advisers.

And as a musician himself, what did Alan make of the tune?

“I’d say that on face value the music isn’t too bad, it’s quite upbeat and funky, with an interesting melody,” he said.

“However, because it’s so repetitive – it’s only about a minute long before it repeats from the beginning – it’s probably not been changed in several years, and the quality is so poor, it’s been etched into the consciousness of everyone who would call up HMRC (that’s the majority of the working population) and drives everyone insane!”

An HMRC spokesperson said: “HMRC is one of the UK’s biggest digital organisations with nine out of ten of our 2.3 billion interactions with the public happening online, but every year we receive around 40 million phone calls. We have cut call waiting times, and the average is now less than five minutes. We’ve also extended our opening hours and our call centres are now open seven days a week.

“Customer service is a top priority for us and we are providing a wide range of digital services while working hard to improve traditional ones.”

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