It’s October 1989. Your family is spending a pleasant Saturday afternoon at Kmart, browsing for some late back-to-school clothes, or maybe some Halloween costumes. The shelves are full of clearance lunch boxes and plastic pumpkins, and you hear soft instrumental adult-contemporary music interspersed with Kmart promos over the store speakers. That music’s all piped in, though, isn’t it? No recordings of it could possibly exist. [More]
Ultra-cheap discounter Dollar Tree has turned off the in-store music in all of its stores, citing cost issues. On the company’s Facebook page, shoppers keep complaining that the company is being too cheap (many don’t seem to know about licensing fees for music), but Dollar Tree’s official response is that it freed up expenses to keep prices low.
A Muzak PR rep would like you to know that their filing for Chapter 11 status is just so they can reorganize their debts and that they and their creditors expect Muzak to be in business for years to come (yay?). Also that they mainly sell music by original artists to retail stores (read: cleaned up for mass market appeal but tailored specifically to the stores’ demo), as opposed to the elevator music their company name became synonymous with. For a more in-depth look, The New Yorker did an interesting feature on them back in 2006, in which we learn the company HQ has a fantastic sound system that goes to even their parking lot, but, “for deeply felt symbolic reasons,” not their elevator.
Ever acoustically bankrupt, Muzak,the makers of elevator music, have declared themselves financially bankrupt by filing for Chapter 11. The company’s unique style of precisely limited in tempo and dynamics and unswervingly bland music may not be long for this world. Office workers and elevator riders, rejoice.