60s Muzak

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Vinylfindco, Apr 24, 2015.

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  1. Vinylfindco

    Vinylfindco Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Miami
    I have recently become interested in Muzak. I use the term as it applies to original Muzak programming from the 60s before the switch to original artists. They originally used their own orchestras and arrangers for complete control over the mood and progression. I remember as a child hearing it in supermarkets, offices and maybe even elevators! The psychology behind the product is quite interesting. Is there anyone here who might be a closet fan of Muzak and have a resource for an original program download? I couldn't find exactly what I wanted on youtube.
     
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  2. Mark B.

    Mark B. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Concord, NC
    I used to enjoy it when Muzak was playing in a resturant or store. I'd try to be the first one in the group to figure out what song was playing. It often wasn't that hard to identify the song, but sometimes, it would take quite a while for the melody to take shape enough to recognize it. A nice way to pass the time while you're waiting for your Sesame Chicken to arrive.
     
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  3. nightstand68

    nightstand68 Forum Resident

    I found this and love it. Is this what you were referring to?

     
  4. Vinylfindco

    Vinylfindco Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Miami
    Th
    Thank you so much, that's it!
     
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  5. Vinylfindco

    Vinylfindco Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Miami
    I found a lot of links by searching "Elevator Music" rather than "Muzak"
    One is 6 hours long. Good to soothe my nerves during the workday.
     
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  6. Vinylfindco

    Vinylfindco Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Miami
    From an interesting article on the science behing Muzak

    "because music is art, but Muzak is science. And when you employ the science of Muzak: in an office, workers tend to get more done, more efficiently, and feel happier. In an industrial plant, people feel better and, with less fatigue and tension, their jobs seem less monotonous. In a store, people seem to shop in a more relaxed and leisurely manner. In a bank, customers are generally more calm, tellers and other personnel are more efficient. In general, people feel better about where they are; whether it's during work or leisure time. Muzak is all this and more. That's why we say Muzak is much more than music."

    http://media.hyperreal.org/zines/est/articles/muzak.html
     
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  7. Folknik

    Folknik Forum Resident

    I LOVE that stuff! I highly recommend Joseph Lanza's excellent book Elevator Music which I liked so much I read it twice. It covers the origins of when soothing music was piped into some of the earlier elevators to calm the nerves of people who were afraid the cables would snap. There's a chapter on the Muzak corporation, and it details the rise and fall of the easy listening radio format, and later goes into new age and ambient music. There are informative biographical profiles of Percy Faith, Mantovani, 101 Strings, Jackie Gleason, Ray Conniff, and other artists and it has a great discography. It gave me a whole new appreciation for the genre and inspired me to search the thrift stores for old Mantovani, Ray Conniff, Lawrence Welk, etc. albums for $1.00 or less. Sometimes that music is just what I need for stress relief or just a good mellow-out. I remember how it used to seriously calm down my uneasy feelings when I was in the dentist chair. In my area, it's now almost impossible to find this stuff on the radio, so thank God for my record collection.
     
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  8. Michael P

    Michael P Forum Resident

    Location:
    Parma, Ohio
    I have a cassette somewhere in my archives of an album Muzak put out. I even had a photocopy of the cover with an explanation of their process. In a nutshell (at least for "workplace" uses) the musical selections start a slow tempo and gradually increase in a half-hour block. This is supposed to make the workers "pick up the pace". The Muzak stops for a half hour and starts the process over.

    Speaking of closets, the factory where I worked at for my first job had Muzak. I found the receiver in a mop closet one day. At the time Muzak was distributed on the SCA channel of a local FM station (talk about Lo-Fi). The receiver was hooked up to a Simplex timer that turned the music on and off in half-hour blocks (the broadcast went 24/7 but it was not meant to be heard continuously). The timer was a little bit out of sync, allowing a small bit of the next block to leak out (and cut off the fastest tempo track a bit early).
     
  9. PlushFieldHarpy

    PlushFieldHarpy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Indiana
    Makes me want to go shopping!
     
  10. winopener

    winopener Forum Resident

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  11. She is anyway

    She is anyway Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Minnesota, USA
    Can it be? Is that really a Muzak version of Harry Nilsson's "I'd Rather Be Dead" at 1:10:13?
     
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  12. John B Good

    John B Good Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    NS, Canada
    Have they tried it in the penitentiaries?
     
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  13. winopener

    winopener Forum Resident

    And by the way, if you suddenly have a desire for something fresh... blame it on the record:

     
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  14. DK Pete

    DK Pete Forum Resident

    Location:
    Levittown. NY
    Is the mid-sixties stuff by herb Alpert and the TB considered Muzak? If so, I'm a fan.
     
  15. Platterpus

    Platterpus Forum Resident

    Location:
    MPLS
    I used to find these Stimulus Progression "Muzak" LPs, used and some sealed about 15 years ago. I have no more than five of them and got them very cheap. I believe they were promotional only and not sold in retail. The music on these is top notch production wise and fall into the audiophile category. Love that clinical generic sound.
     
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  16. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    Why, yes it is!:winkgrin:
     
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  17. Tony Sclafani

    Tony Sclafani Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Coast, USA
    There are a few stations left in the US that still play it. The best is KAHM, out of Prescott, Arizona and they stream it online.
     
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  18. She is anyway

    She is anyway Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Minnesota, USA
    So either Muzak had a sense of humor, or not.
     
  19. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    Thats what they did. Half the fun is "did I hear that"? I remember hearing Led Zeppilin done as Muzak.
     
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  20. nightstand68

    nightstand68 Forum Resident

    Listening now via Tunein. Thank you for that.
     
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  21. bosskeenneat

    bosskeenneat Forum Resident

    Yep, Seeburg is synonymous with Muzak the same way the Beatles are with the term British Invasion. YouTube not only has big chunks of the original music, the special records and their "player" can be seen in some posts as well as dates, e.g. October 1970, March 1965 or December 1971. Naturally, there was a lot of overlap. Whoda thunk it we'd actually hear this stuff again? See what happens when certain things are saved from the landfill?
     
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  22. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    Muzak was fed to stores and offices by FM SCA (Subcarrier Authorization) or telephone lines. Muzak Franchise Offices had tape based automation systems with banks of Scully 270 open reel tape playback machines operating at 7 1/2 IPS, Muzak libraries were on 14" reels. Usually 1/2 track Stereo as the main FM station owned by the Muzak franchise sometimes played them on the main channel when both were owned by the same entity. In Knoxville, TN WEZK FM 97.5 was owned by South Central Communications, who also was the area Muzak Franchisee. Seeburg did FM SCA, phone lines, and the Seeburg Background Music System with the 16 2/3 RPM discs and using 1/2 mil styli.
     
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