Some of you may have read a recent article in the Pioneer Press about the bankruptcy of Muzak Holdings LLC. (Not many of you apparently, cause readership is way down) But it seems another American company has overextended itself and bit the dust.
This is the very company that brought us those lovely tunes in elevators everywhere, just loud enough to recognize but soft enough to put crying babies to sleep or hypnotize Gandhi. I always thought they piped that music in from across the sea; the volume was so low. Now I know they did it that way on purpose.
Muzak was the first pacifier.
When elevators in multi-level buildings were new, there was still a natural tendency to take the stairs. Mostly based in fear. Folks didn’t have a lot of faith in those little boxes hung by cables. Especially when they rose up over ten stories high! That was insanity. They relied on what they knew. Legs were made for walking and they had no qualms about using them. (There was a very low rate of obesity in those days. Only spoiled rich people were fat. Of course, they hadn’t invented Jalapeño potato chips yet or realized that if there were a coupon for twenty-five cents off a bag, people would feel compelled to stock up.)
Then came the accompaniment of Muzak.
The lulling strains of Muzak calmed nervous passengers. But it goes further than that. The lower the music, the harder we have to strain to hear it, the less we think about our lives resting in the strength of a few metal cables that could snap at anytime, sending us hurtling to our deaths at the bottom of a black hole.
I have a theory that Muzak was actually invented by a secret government agency that will remain unnamed, due to its secrecy. Muzak is just a screen to hide the coded propaganda piped into elevators everywhere. I don’t know what they are telling us because it is so secret, but I think it could have something to do with why I prefer Coke over Pepsi, and Northern over Charmin.
Muzak is also used in Dentist offices. Calming, soothing, non-invasive music that doesn’t jab us, shock us, get our adrenelin flowing, or set our body in motion. Can you imagine what would happen if we were gyrating like Elvis while the dentist drilled our teeth? Scary.
Muzak prevents accidents.
With the demise of Muzak, playlists in Malls will be wide open. It’s bad enough now. Can you imagine an elevator pumping out confrontational Rap lyrics while a parent tries to calm their crying child? It would be like the Exorcist, only the parent’s head would be spinning. Teenagers have more of an immunity to this type of music, even if they don’t normally listen to it. I think with all the movie soundtracks, Internet videos, and friendly commuters who share their music tastes through the open windows of cars, kids have grown thicker skin. I still cringe every time I hear a four-letter word screamed over a sound system, unless that word is love and then I just flinch a little. Screaming lyrics are really hard on the eardrums. Of course if they turned it way down so that we could barely hear it, it might be better.
Muzak executives say they are going to restructure and come out of this bankruptcy better than before. I for one certainly hope they do. The demise of such an American icon is beyond comprehension.
If any company has the rights to a few million stimulus dollars, Muzak does. They have pacified us, protected us, and lulled us to sleep in a standing position. I for one would be proud to have my (husband’s) hard-earned taxes pay for their restructuring and continued watch-care over the elevators of our nation. Especially the ones at Burnsville Center Mall, cause I really hate Rap music.