History of Elevator Music

Elevator music history

Elevator music, more commonly known as Muzak, came to use in the 1922 with original purpose to calm the fearful passengers who used the elevators for the first time. Since then use of this calm, relaxing music became widespread and is today often used in many areas beside elevators (shopping malls, grocery stores, department stores, cruise ships, airports, telephone systems and more). Muzak tunes are purposely made to hold very simple melody and to be unobtrusive and easily looped. It has been proven that some kinds of elevator music can psychologically make buyers to shop longer and browse items more easily.

Main supplier of elevator music is Muzak Holdings LLC, company from South California that started distributing simple music tunes since the early 1920’s. Their main goal was distribution of music without the use of radio waves. Besides elevators, hotels and restaurants they specialized in providing the music in factory workplaces, claiming that background music can improve productivity among workers.

Music in elevators

In the beginning Muzak songs were recorded by the popular music artists, but in 1997 they started fulltime production of their own original songs. As of 2010 they have produced over 3 million songs and are offering them over 100 internet streaming radio channels.

During last 30 years Elevator music became the part of the pop culture, and was often used in negative terms. Several popular music stars unsuccessfully tried to buy Muzak Holdings with the sole goal of shutting them down.

Today Muzak supplies over 350.000 clients and their music is heard by over 100 million people daily.