I was downtown a few days ago, killing time between a brief appointment with the doctor and a committee meeting, so I decided to do a bit of “shopping.” I didn’t find anything I was interested in buying, but I couldn’t help but notice that every public space I entered—even  the Bay cafeteria, where I stopped for a cup of tea—was suffused with piped in music. Of course, one is not supposed to be aware of the “sound environment” which, if you’ll read below, is carefully designed to manipulate the putative consumer into having pleasant feelings and positive attitudes about spending money. But why should the doctor’s waiting room also be suffused with some sort of soothing or mind-numbing music flowing from the ubiquitous ceiling speakers? I asked once, and was told that it had something to do with people in the waiting room possibly overhearing sensitive conversations. Come on, the so-called music wouldn’t stop me from listening in should I choose to, it only makes it harder to read the ancient magazines provided for the waiting patients’ enlightenment.

I found it interesting that, probably like most people, I was initially unaware of the background of mood-enhancing music that I was being exposed to. Let’s get it right up front here and call it by its real name “Muzak.” And what a brilliant invention it was. Imagine being able to influence people’s feelings and attitudes without their knowing it! Satan himself couldn’t have done better.

As soon as I actually listened to it, however, I found it annoying and irritating. I even spoke to a worker at the cafeteria who was adjusting some kind of sound device in a small room. I pointed out how nice it would be to hear only the sounds of conversation and the occasional clinking of cutlery or glassware. She agreed, but said that she had no control over what was to be piped into the room. Corporate orders, I guess. Wait a minute! I then realized that I, too, had no say about what “Audio Architecture” (see below) I was being forced to endure. And, once you start hearing it, “endure” it is. Corporate orders. I have long considered forming a society to be called CLAM (Citizens’ League Against Muzak). Members would regularly ask that background music—in restaurants, shopping malls, and even supermarkets for heaven’s sake—be turned off. They might also be supplied with crochet-hook type devices with which to decommission ceiling speakers, of course only when not observed in such spaces as elevators. Perhaps it’s time for an uprising!

Now, read. I trust you’ll shudder with horror as I did:

Audio Architecture is emotion by design. Our innovation and our inspiration, it is the integration of music, voice and sound to create experiences that link customers with companies. Its power lies in its subtlety. It bypasses the resistance of the mind and targets the receptiveness of the heart. When people are made to feel good in, say, a store, they feel good about that store. They like it. Remember it. Go back to it. Audio Architecture builds a bridge to loyalty. And loyalty is what keeps brands alive.

If you’ve heard music in a hotel lobby, restaurant, or retail store, chances are good you’ve experienced Muzak Audio Architecture. More than just back ground music, Audio Architecture combines original songs, professional voice talent, and sound system design to create an atmosphere that makes people feel good about the environment and inspires brand loyalty.

May the good Lord, who is no doubt at this moment being soothed by the heavenly choirs, save us!

About tdurrie

An aging radical with thoughts about society, education, arts, politics, and food.
This entry was posted in Muzak, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


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