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date: 25 February 2020

Elevator musiclocked

  • Jesse Jarnow


The term became synonymous with a music service offered by the Muzak corporation, and it also came to describe several broader types of music. In 1934, General George Squier founded Muzak as a way to market the broadcast systems he had helped develop in the military. By the 1940s the company was quietly piping background music into offices, department stores, hotels, and eventually elevators. “Elevator music” soon came to describe the ubiquitous instrumental music heard in public places, often produced by Muzak and performed by anonymous session musicians. It is closely related to the beautiful music radio format, which itself grew out of recordings once played in department stores, and might be considered a kind of commercial Ambient music . Beginning likely in the 1960s, the term began to be used in a derisive manner to describe a type of music without substance.

J. Lanza: Elevator Music: a Surreal History of Muzak, Easy-Listening, and Other Moodsong...

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