Music represents at once the immediate manifestation of impulse and the locus of its taming (Adorno; 288)
We don’t sell music; we sell programming
The dissolution of the Muzak brand in 2013 brought to an end a history that stretched back over 70 years, with the brand first appearing in 1934. Although synonymous with influencing the behaviour of consumers, Muzak spent much of its formative years manipulating workers on the factory floor with vinyl transcription records.
Muzak recorded thousands of 12″ and 16″ discs, building up a large library of material. In the 1930s artists’ songs were usually recorded at Muzak studios in a single take and cut straight to a lacquer master ready for duplication. In 1934, one of the first Muzak releases to be recorded featured the ‘National Fascist Militia Band’, a touring Italian brass band. During this session over 25 songs and marches were recorded, including ‘March on Rome’ ( Anthem of the young Fascists ), and ‘To Arms’, ( Fascist Anthem ). It is unclear whether this recording of the ‘Pan American Brass band’ (as the band was later aliased for release) influenced the direction that Muzak was to take, but what is clear is that around this time Muzak saw in the disciplining function of music commercial opportunities that they argued would assist companies and factories in increasing worker productivity. [Read more →]