Monday, June 22, 2009

Some people have been saying that Muzak is bankrupt for years

In my Empoprise-MU music blog, I am trying to cover a wide assortment of music, including music that some people say isn't music at all. Some people think punk isn't music. Some people think classical music isn't music. But there's probably a wide agreement that Muzak isn't music, and that it's a cruel sappy manipulation of the mind.

You'll notice that I am capitalizing Muzak, because there is specifically a company that produces this type of music. And, unbeknownst to me, the company went bankrupt in February 2009. And, unbeknownst to me, Muzak the company has an up and coming competitor:

When Muzak, the company whose name has become synonymous with syrupy instrumental renditions of pop songs piped into elevators, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February, Joshua Katz’s phone started ringing.

“I must’ve gotten 25 calls,” said Mr. Katz, the co-owner of El Records, a six-person company that provides custom music for luxury hotels and other high-end brands. “People started addressing what they were paying for and realized they weren’t happy,” he said of the bevy of potential customers looking to flee the monolithic music provider.

It's helpful to review the reason behind Muzak and El Records and all the rest - people are more inclined to spend money in a pleasant aural environment than in a silent one. But it's just a question of what is pleasant. This will vary according to a business' customer base - a youth-oriented store will have a different background music selection than a jewelery store.

But sometimes the music choices can go awry. I remember one time when we were visiting relatives in Henderson, Nevada, and my wife needed to work on a photo album present for one of the relatives. She went to a Starbucks to work, but ended up having to leave because the music was too danged loud. And I would think that many Starbucks customers would be bringing their own music via iPods or whatever, so why drown out your ability to think?

Background music should NOT be set to a volume of 11.
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