History of Muzak: Where Did All The Elevator Music Go?

Muzak(brownpau) / Flickr )

(brownpau) / Flickr )

Of Muzak, Professor Gary Gumpert of Queens College, in a 1990 interview for Britain’s Channel 4, said: “[it’s] a kind of amniotic fluid that surrounds us; and it never startles us, it is never too loud, it is never too silent; it’s always there.”

The sounds frequently referred to as elevator music are, at least officially, no more; over five years ago the company folded in a deal with its new owner, Mood Music. Muzak often amounted to the sonic equivalent of a Pan-Am smile, inspiring the listener to a bland, blinkered contentedness. In part, its reputation has obscured much of what made the company viable, and the extent to which its style fed others in its wake. Full story.

Jennifer Gersten (WQXR) / April 19, 2017

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