Elevator music

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Elevator music (also known as Muzak, piped music, weather music or lift music) refers to a type of popular music, often instrumental, that is commonly played through speakers at shopping malls, grocery stores, department stores, telephone systems (while the caller is on hold), cruise ships, airliners (during take-off and flight), hotels, airports, business offices, and elevators. The term is also frequently applied as a generic term for any form of easy listening, smooth jazz, or middle of the road music, or to the type of recordings commonly heard on "beautiful music" radio stations.

Elevator music is typically set to a very simple melody so that it can be unobtrusively looped back to the beginning. In a mall or shopping center, elevator music of a specific type has been found to have a psychological effect: slower, more relaxed music tends to make people slow down and browse longer.[citation needed] Elevator music may also be preferred over broadcast radio stations due to the lack of lyrics and commercial interruptions.[citation needed]

This style of music is sometimes used to comedic effect in mass media such as film, where intense or dramatic scenes may be interrupted or interspersed with such anodyne music while characters use an elevator (e.g. The Blues Brothers, Dawn of the Dead, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra and Spider-Man 2). Some video games have used elevator music for comedic effect, e.g. Metal Gear Solid 4 where a few elevator music-themed tracks are accessible on the in-game iPod.

The Muzak Holdings Corporation is a major supplier of business background music, and was the best known such supplier for years. Since 1997 Muzak has used original artists for its music source,[1] except on the Environmental channel.[2]

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  1. ^ "Annals of Culture: The Soundtrack of Your Life", The New Yorker by David Owen (04/10/2006).
  2. ^ "Encompass LE Program Listing" (PDF). Muzak Corporation. November 10, 2006. Retrieved April 19, 2007.  (PDF)

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