|Vintage subscriber receiver|
* Since the company had no access to licensed-music libraries, it brought in top orchestras to cut original recordings.This content was available for $1.50 a month, piped in via a box that plugged into a wall socket. Muzak was ad-free, opposed to radio's commercial interruptions.
* By the end of the '30s, radio became the dominant format ‒ it was free, after all ‒ and Muzak shifted its focus to businesses. During WWII, it discovered that certain kinds of music could increase efficiency, and Muzak developed 'Stimulus Progression' ‒ 15-minute blocks of instrumental background music guaranteed to keep those worker bees buzzing. The company also discovered that certain music calmed passengers riding in high-rise elevators.
* By the '60s, a growing public awareness that Muzak was bent on behavior manipulation led to a backlash from which it would never recover. It was widely derided as "elevator music", barely music at all.
|1941 newspaper ad|
|1942 newspaper ad|
During WWII, Muzak discovered its niche ‒ motivational instrumental music designed for the workplace ‒ and ceased offering its product directly to consumers.
Chill out with some soothing Muzak here.