At a couple points in the past I’ve attempted to scrounge around on the Internet for royalty free hold music that we could use at my place of work. I must admit that I was never successful, but I also must admit that I can’t remember why. If I had to guess I would say that it was for reasons similar to my hunt for royalty free artwork: the quality was poor, or the license allowing for it’s free use was dubious at best.
When looking for royalty free music there’s two hurdles: is the song itself public domain, and is the recording. The former is easy enough as anything more than a hundred years old is pretty safe, but the latter is quite tricky since recordings have been known to fade in and out of ‘public domain’ access.
However a vendor that I called on had quite horrible hold music and I was pondering their logic of torturing their customers thus when I realized that their work around was to record MIDI music of public domain songs. Well ‘song’ was more like it, and the MIDI chip they used sounded like it had been resurrected from the mid-80s, but the approach was novel!
A better approach than the one they used is to use classical harpsichord music (the tinny sound of that instrument doesn’t lose much in the translation to MIDI) and then use one of the commercial MIDI-to-WAV/MP3 converters (or if your so given, record the MIDI output on your computer).