We've all been on hold to StudyLink or the Inland Revenue Department listening to Brooke Fraser, Stan Walker or Anika Moa as we wait impatiently for our student allowance payout or tax return.

So how is it decided what songs make the playlists?

There are some common themes, reports star.kiwi.

If you think think you've heard Brooke Fraser, Stan Walker, Jamie McDell, Six60 and Anika Moa feature on hold music a lot – you're right.


Their songs such as Something in the Water, Arithmetic, Messages, Aotearoa, Falling in Love Again, Dreams in My Head, Life in Sunshine, Falling in Love Again and Special feature on the Work and Income, StudyLink and IRD hold music playlists.

Six60 appears to be the most popular.

It has two songs on the IRD playlist, and four on both StudyLink and Work and Income.

Work and Income has 40 songs on its playlist and StudyLink has 24. They tend to stick with Kiwi music.

The Black Seeds, Fly My Pretties, Evermore, Golden Horse, Goodshirt, and Fat Freddy's Drop feature on Work and Income, while StudyLink has the likes of Che Fu, Summer Thieves, Sola Rosa, Maimoa and Tiki Tane.

The IRD has a mix of 74 national and international songs.

You can listen to the oldies by Crowded House, Dave Dobbyn, OMC, Dragon, Th' Dudes, The Feelers and Supergroove, but they are mixed with Maroon 5, Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Lorde and even Delta Goodrem.

An IRD spokesman said its playlist was last refreshed in 2016, and was not expected to be reviewed again in the near future.

"The list was compiled with the aim of having a good mix of styles, songs that were generally upbeat, and a combination of local and international artists."

He said it costs about $13,000 each year for the hold music, just over $10,000 of which is paid to OneMusic for licensing fees to play it to customers.

The Ministry of Social Development also uses OneMusic for licensing fees for StudyLink and Work and Income.

A ministry spokesman said its songs were randomly selected.

"No specific criteria is used to select 'on-hold' music but we follow the New Zealand music radio standard which recommends music that doesn't include offensive language, swearing or other inappropriate content."

The playlists were last changed about two years ago, he said.

The city council and Environment Canterbury call centre hold music is a bit more subdued.

The city council playlist songs, such as The First Step, Crystal Realm, Heart's Mists and Rain on the Island, have been chosen for their "soothing nature and cost effectiveness".

Head of customer services Sarah Numan said they did not change the music over the Christmas period.

ECan plays classical music.

"Classical music was chosen because it is soothing and additionally, as the tracks are over 100-years-old, they are not subject to licensing and therefore can be broadcast free of charge," a spokeswoman

The playlist had remained the same for at least eight years, she said.