s skippy the bush kangaroo: the elevator music hits the bottom floor.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

the elevator music hits the bottom floor.

muzak files for bankruptcy.
but who knew there was such a history behind this soul sucking sound....

it might come as no surprise to those many millions who have grown to hate elevator music and its bastard offspring on-hold messaging, but the origins of muzak can be traced to the united states military. as well as being a phd and serial inventor in the field of radio, general squier was also an aviation pioneer, helping the us air force get off the ground with its first planes and worked with the wright brothers. after the first world war, during which he had been in the forefront of the rapidly emerging military signals technology, general squier spotted a civilian market for his wired sound and he sold his patents to a public utility company which began piping music into staten island direct from a hand-cranked record player at its new york city premises. such a wired domestic music service was facing eclipse by the growth of radio, but there remained plenty of scope for pushing the product into the commercial sector. and before the general died in 1935 he was to bequeath one more
brainwave to the emerging phenomenon. inspired by george eastman's celebrated kodak trade name, he re-christened the company muzak.

but muzak was always about more than just music and its core. in the 1940s, muzak came up with stimulus progression, the belief that piped music in the workplace, properly played, could stimulate production. obviously, true music lovers should look away now, but this quasi-scientific (some might argue pseudo-scientific) theory claimed that an individual's mood could be lifted through listening to programmed sound in 15-minute segments. within each block, the music is ordered from least to most stimulating, with the final and most upbeat track followed by a quarter of an hour of silence. - the independent

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posted by Cookie Jill at 7:46 PM |

4 Comments:

NUH -UH !!!!
Shut the F*$k UP !!!
Get OUT OF HERE !!!


really ????
Wow.............
My father used to sell Muzak for a short time in the fifties. He was making the transition from being a full time musician himself to a person with a life. I recall his telling me about those very theories. He was fascinated by them. Whether their exact theories were right, there's no question that music can effect mood and energy level. At least it does for me.
commented by Blogger ZenYenta, 5:46 AM PST  
Listening to Muzak is like eating a plain bagel plain. I can do either one without wanting to claw my ears or tongue out. But the first chance I get later on, I'm going out to a damn good Mediterranean-area restaurant to make up for lost time...
commented by Blogger Jim Yeager, 9:52 AM PST  
Yeah...right Jim.
Sorry for my earlier reluctant eloquence... it is just so amazing that an Icon of our society , an omnipresent factor in commerce and business is going tits up.
I mean think of how many movies you can name that have elevator scenes where there is no muzak???
Think how many movies you might have seen where that very background theme was a factor in the scene itself..???
It really was and had been integrated into our collective psyche's and we all recognize it almost instinctively...
I can't say it ever contributed to my personal productivity levels, quite the opposite in fact I would say.
I can easily recall many days where I simply did not want to "office" that day because I couldn't face another day of canned Muzak....
And in addition, after I have consulted with numerous psychologists and marriage counselors and psychiatrists and such...I can say with reasonable assurance that I am mostly "normal" in my likes / dislikes, and appreciation of art and stuff. Muzak for me was an ever present reminder of cold-war mentality...a Big Brother relic that for some inexplicable reason would not go away.......
And now that it is going, I confess to more than a bit or nostalgic remorse....
Good Bye you canned Monster, I will retain your hateful name in my daily language and insult thesaurus if not any actual renditions of your ideas of "Music".

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