Muzak Headed for Bland, Easy Retirement

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Remember the days when you’d get into an elevator, or walk into a store, and you'd hear the generic sounds of a saxophone/keyboard combo?

Ah, yes, muzak. Many people know it as a catch-all for plain background music, but it's actually the name of a company.

These days, mood music is less than 1 percent of what Muzak makes and distributes. And the newest company to swallow up the Muzak brand — called Mood Media — has, thus, decided to retire the name, and hopefully the negative connotations that many associate with Muzak.

But not everyone sees Muzak as the brand of bland. Joseph Lanza has written in defense of the company and its music. He’s the author of "Elevator Music: A Surreal History of Muzak, Easy-Listening, and Other Moodsong."

Guests:

Joseph Lanza

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [1]

Angel from Miami, FL

Muzak? Isn't that dead already? Luxury brands already advertise with ambient Electronica in the background. For businesses whose Boomer-aged customers think any amount of bass is too much bass can still rely on the Beach Boys' Kokomo while they wait for the next available agent. As Boomers get older, why call for support when there's email and chat? Anyways, modern Musak covers are mostly Jazz-based. And not that cool Armstrong Jazz but that "Homeland" schizo Jazz. The only people born after 1970 who listen to Jazz all work at NPR. And I don't think that's enough to sustain the traditional elevator music industry.

Feb. 06 2013 10:04 AM

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