Friday, February 13, 2009

Muzak goes bust!

There are some joys to be had from the credit crunch/recession/slump/whatever after all. The Indy carries news that the original Muzak company is filing for bankruptcy protection. Does that mean we can have some peace and quiet again? I suspect not, of course, but we can dream.

I've lost count of the number of musicians who tell me in interviews that piped music in lifts, lobbies and everywhere else they go is the bane of their lives. And I've always thought it's a form of universally administered anaesthetic: something to deaden our senses just enough to stop us getting too clever, noticing and potentially rebellious.

I disagree profoundly with the Indy's leading article, though, which suggests that Muzak was the food of shopping and that music could now encourage us back to the shops. I promise you that there is nothing, but *nothing*, that will drive me out of a shop as fast as music I don't like.

There aren't many shops that play music I do like, of course. Jigsaw seems to have a propensity for the ugliest kind of pop, which is just as well: I adore their clothes, so the noise saves me a fortune! The one piped music experience I remember with affection was one day in Monsoon when they played Abba and all the customers were singing along with 'Dancing Queen'. Most cheering. But I still didn't buy anything.

Interesting to note, though, that genuine full-blown classical music pumped through underground, railway and bus stations clears away the yobs and hoodies like there's no tomorrow and makes the rest of us feel better about life.