Say goodbye to Muzak

The much-mocked brand is being retired. But the company's gentle instrumentals and innocuous pop mixes will remain.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 5, 2013 12:37PM
Couple shopping in bedroom showroom, rear view -- Hans Neleman, Digital Vision, Getty ImagesWould elevator music with a different name be any less annoying? The parent company of Muzak is about to find out.

According to the New York Times. Muzak's owner Mood Media is planning to retire the much-mocked brand this week. The company acquired Muzak, which started in 1934, for $345 million two years ago. 

Muzak has long tried to convince the public that it was more than just "elevator music." The company brags on its website that it has used "original artist material" from stars such as Michael Jackson since 1984.

The Muzak brand doesn't adequately describe the company's offering since music isn't the only way it gets consumers in the mood to shop. Mood Media also offers what it calls "commercial scent solutions" to entice consumers through the sense of smell. The company uses visual stimuli through its digital signage and interactive kiosks that allow consumers to try on clothes "virtually."

Though it's being retired as a brand, it will live on forever in dictionaries and in the minds of people stuck in elevators listening to a nameless orchestra playing incongruous tunes such as Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train."

--Jonathan Berr can't carry a tune to save his life. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr

More on moneyNOW

Feb 5, 2013 8:51PM
never forget the scene in the blues brothers, riding in the elevator while the swat teams storm the building
Feb 6, 2013 8:21PM
My favorite Muzak moment may not have been theirs but certainly inspired - The theme song from original "Star Trek" series played by what sounded like a marimba band...with strings backing it up, of course! If only "Crazy Train" could have followed that!
Feb 5, 2013 5:43PM
I saw a story about this company and they do some really cool stuff - individual playlist for stores geared to the type of customers they are looking for; who knew my dream job would have been to work for Muzak?
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