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February 2, 2023

Some Guy Made a Bangin’ Cover of the IRS Hold Music and You Need to Hear It

a pair of white headphones

We’re a year and a half late on sharing this IRS hold music cover song with you, but better late than never eh? Well, unless you’re late making estimated tax payments.

Uploaded April 13, 2020, the video has a mere 1,413 views as of posting this. How this didn’t go viral and end up being the star track of the Better Call Saul soundtrack is beyond us. But here it is:

As seen in a Reddit thread about the torture that is hours upon hours of IRS hold music.

Here is another remix that ended up on Mashable a couple years back, and if you’re really feel masochistic today, you can also find the original hold music track on Soundcloud because of course you can.

In this 2019 Washington Post piece entitled “Our classical music critic was on hold with the IRS for an hour. She didn’t hate the music,” we learn more than we ever wanted to know about this ear worm of a song:

The IRS’s hold music is called “One to One,” and it is often credited to “Fresh Optimism,” the name of the collection of tracks in which it was originally represented. Getty’s website, however, credits “One to One” only to “RFM,” which it says is an entity in Tivoli, N.Y. — one of many royalty-free music companies that Getty acquired. The IRS licensed the track in 2009 from Jupitermedia, also since acquired by Getty.

Bet you didn’t expect to get the backstory on what is quite possibly the most enraging hold music in the world when you woke up this morning, did you? Who knows, maybe it’ll come up on Jeopardy! some day and you’ll be the only one who knows the answer.

I searched the GC archive and found just one single mention of practitioner line hold music from 2016 in which the Wall Street Journal tracked down an accountant from Maryland who said: “You get tired of it, no matter how nice it is,” she said.

And that about sums it up. Maybe we’ll get lucky one of these years and the IRS will find a new track. Until then, One to One it is.

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1 Comment

  1. If it makes anyone feel better, that hold music is the same hold music that IRS employees hear when calling the internal IT or HR help line. Wait times are similar to what I experienced in public accounting.

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