Councils were accused of using hold music such as Shine by Take That and Toto’s Africa to’squander’ taxpayers’ money.

  • Numerous local authorities use music from the phone line without any royalties.
  • Others pay thousands to be able to sing huge pop songs.
  • Campaigners stated that the taxpayers should be ‘appalled’ at the way councils waste their hard-earned dollars.

MailOnline can show that councils in Britain waste thousands every year on music held for them.

To break up the silence, many local governments use royalty-free music and tunes that are included in the overall phone contract. This is used by taxpayers to discuss planning issues or bin collections.

However, exclusive data shows that some towns halls spend big to send pop songs down their phone lines like Shine by Take That’s Toto and Do They Know It?

Town hall chiefs will gladly pay for classics like Mozart and Vivaldi while residents wait to be connected to an operator. 

Campaigners attacked the decision at a time where budgets are stretched thinly, but some of the largest spenders supported the policy.

Councils across Britain are 'squandering' thousands of pounds every year on hold music such as Toto's Africa, MailOnline can reveal

MailOnline can show that councils in Britain waste thousands of pounds each year on hold music, such as Toto’s Africa.

The piped phone lines are a major expense for pop classics councils. 

Shine, Take It!

Kylie Minogue-All the Lovers

Are they aware that it is Christmas with Band Aid?

You Only Live Twice Orchestral Theme Song Version

Toto – Africa

Shine on for many years

George Ezra, Hold My Girl

Michael Jackson – Love Never Felt So Good 

Adele – Rolling in the Deep

Samantha Mumba, All I Want Christmas

Danielle Boxall, media campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, told MailOnline: ‘Taxpayers will be appalled that councils are wasting their hard-earned money on hold music when there are plenty of free options available.

“Residents want their money to go towards essential services and not on costly songs.”

“Local authorities need to ensure calls are answered, not wondering how they can entertain ratepayers who leave them hanging on the phone.” 

The biggest spenders of the authorities that responded to a Freedom of Information request was Clackmannanshire Council in Scotland, which has shelled out more than £20,000 over the last five years for the rights to Take That’s Shine, All The Lovers by Kylie Minogue, the orchestral theme tune version of You Only Live Twice and Band Aid’s festive classic Do They Know It’s Christmas? 

MailOnline received a statement from a council spokesperson saying that the figures were not limited to hold music. 

“The Council charges a PPL/PRS fee annually to allow the play of music in all our buildings and schools. It also covers the play of music on hold. 

“This fee can be used to cover a variety of activities, including having radios on at work or staging concerts in town halls. 

Also up there is Doncaster Council, which has spent £7,000 over the last five years for tunes on The Ultimate Classic FM album, which includes iconic anthems such as Nessun Dorma. Requests for comment were not answered by the council. 

Other responses show Hambleton in North Yorkshire spent more than £2,000 over the last five years to secure the rights for Toselli Serenade by Starsound Orchestra and Teignbridge in Devon paid four-figures for an unspecified song in 2017/18. 

Shine by Take That is among the pop classics that councils are paying to obtain the rights

Shine by Take That is one of the many pop hits that councils pay to get the rights

Gravesham in Kent, meanwhile, also paid more than £2,000 for licences between 2017 and 2021, but insists a new phone system will provide royalty free music on hold from next year. 

Other local authorities made smaller one-off payments to individual artists, such as North Devon which paid Stewart Dugdale £39.90 to use Any One Day and Beautiful Days this year and Bristol, which bought five tracks in 2018/19 for £200. 

Other boroughs claimed rights to music have been given by nearby musicians. Chorley in Lancashire, however, stated that its telephony system had changed in July 2019. This included rights to George Ezra’s song ‘Hold My Girl.

North Ayrshire has spent £730.18 in each of the last three years to use ‘Africa’ and ‘Shine’ and also previously used Michael Jackson’s ‘Love Never Felt So Good’, ‘Rolling in the Deep’ by Adele and Samantha Mumba’s ‘All I Want for Christmas’.

Some councils have claimed that hang-ups while waiting on hold are down significantly since they started to pipe commercial tracks down the telephone line to people in the queue.