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Friday 08 November 2002

Muzak Is Getting Worse

Where the hell do they find the music that’s pumped into nearly every public place these days? Piped-in music is nothing new, of course; Muzak has been in business since the 1920s. But within the last ten years or so, piped-in music has changed from consisting mainly of easy-listening covers of Beatles tunes to consisting mainly of obscure and bad pop music.

This has come to my attention in the last week or so as the more gun-jumping of the piped-in-music channels have begun to work Christmas music into the mix. Where this used to mean easy-listening versions of Christmas classics and maybe “Mele Kalikimaka” on the hipper programs, now it means incredibly bad versions of Christmas classics by contemporary “stars”, all of whom feel the need to put their personal stamp on the works by making them worse (they same people do the same thing when singing the national anthem). Or, if they’re not playing Christina Aguilera’s rendition of The Little Drummer Boy (‘come, I told him, bumpa dumpa ooo’), it’s some original pop-music Christmas song — but never, ever one of the 0.0001% of these that are actually worth hearing.

I suppose I should count myself lucky, though, because outside of Christmas season, the piped-in music in most places is now almost exclusively B- and C-list artists of the 1970s and 1980s, performing their songs that never got on the radio because they never appealed to anyone.

These things must be programmed entirely by computers these days. I find it hard to believe that a human being would decide that, at any point, people would rather hear Olivia Newton-John’s Magic, or yet another track from Muzak’s favorite album, The Very Worst of Rod Stewart, than any other piece of music ever recorded.

Commercial radio, in the 1990s, ceased to be anything like a representation of what listeners might want to hear. Piped-in music was never about what people wanted to hear, but it now seems to be about what people don’t want to hear. A song of yours showing up in easy-listening form on Muzak used to be a sign that you’d really, really made it — much more so than merely appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone. The reverse seems to be true today. If this trend continues, perhaps Billboard could change their hit ranking system to consider how infrequently a song is played on piped-in music systems and boost its chart position accordingly.

Posted by tino at 17:36 8.11.02
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Am I the only person on this planet that is tired of the piped in music????????????

I like music. But why must I be subjected day in and day out to someone elses musical taste? Most of the articles out there in cyberland suggest music “energizes us, makes us productive” bs it aggrevates us, drains our energy trying to cope with it everywhere and it could even be used to control us……….no I’m not wackyo read subliminal brainwashing techniques

It makes us more prone to mistakes and is a nuisance in general.

Whatever happened to peace and quiet??

Are we scared to hear ourselves think?

In the grocery store, at the gas pump, in the eating establishments, even and most horribly at work. I am so tired of hearing Madonna sing “Borderline”, Michael Jackson singing “I’ll Be There” and Cher singing “If I Could Turn Back The Hands of Time”.

Is everyone else out there afraid of silence? I like hearing myself think………………I think piped in music is a waste of space.

Posted by: Tired of piped in music at April 15, 2004 04:36 AM

What is worst of all, is job hunting. I feel like asking during the interview (or even before), “By the way, do my co-workers play ‘smooth jazz’ radio all day?” I think invading others’ hearing space is unbelieveably rude. And it’s not just the muzac, but the radio commercials and blab of the dj’s too. It’s amazing how anesthetized folks are to this. I’ve never met anyone who shares my sentiments, even highly educated people.

Posted by: claudia at July 23, 2005 09:37 AM