WTF Island

The Day The Muzak Brand Died

Muzak is dying. Long live Muzak.

That great musical mainstay of elevators, shopping centers, and other hellish waiting places is getting consolidated by its owner Mood Media, melding inside their own longstanding multi-sensory brand simply called Mood.

By far my favorite Muzak tune was Lionel Richie's "Stuck On You". It really knocked the "I guess I'm on my way" part out of the park. I can hear it now...

The Atlantic Wire has a great timeline of the company's history here.

In 2011, Muzak was bought for $345 million by Mood Media, which also has the market cornered on sensory marketing, where they engineer fully-enveloping experiences for their clients and their clients' customers. Mood is why certain stores smell the way they do, or their colors are just so.

Since its inception in 1934, Muzak has helped create the insidious soundtrack for your most mundane tasks, while also alternately becoming a stunning score for your most important ones. Factories in World War II used Muzak to increase workers' productivity.

The company was founded by World War I veteran General George Owen Squier. The former military man liked the way the name Kodak looked and sounded, so the Muzak name was born.

Through Stimulus Progression programs, Muzak colluded with corporate America to alter the working patterns of countless employees. Faster Muzak meant faster workers, calming Muzak sedating workers in high-stress locations. Muzak was even used by NASA to mellow Apollo astronauts on extremely important missions.

Younger people probably know Muzak's former competitor DMX -- the barking rapper -- a bit better. That company supplied actual music to its clients, not the Muzak variety. But both are now owned by Mood, which means DMX will also be a thing of the past.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty