Chapter 12

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It is well known that if the messages that you receive in the course of your life are negative messages, you will be a more negative-minded person* than if the messages that you receive in the course of your life are positive messages.

That being the case, why would Muzak-type services play all the angst music that they do? If seems as though that would result in a store full of depressed customers, a situation which must not be good for revenues.

I worked in a supermarket for a while. Their background music service played songs of angst and heartbreak and despair all day long. Once they played a desperately heartbroken song written by a guy who ultimately committed suicide after being thrown out of the band.

How can that be a good thing to do?


Long ago, there were dual-format radio stations. They'd play e-z-listening music during the work hours and rock and roll for the kids at night, or news-talk in daytime and classical music at night, or whatever.

It's an idea that ought to be more popular than it is, especialy with radio looking for a reason to exist apart from political pontification.

It would be even better in the background music arena. The morning crowd in the grocery store was pretty much all ancient retired people. The crowd, management said, gets young after four or five, so why not play music that moves with the audience?

I suppose that plenty of places just put on what the manager wants to listen to, which is the kind of thinking that put so many American businesses out of business. They ought to look at their customers and put on what the customers will enjoy.


There's a buffet joint in town that fills up with retirees and bluehairs every afternoon, and they play Fifties and Sixties pop music for the people. Not the obvious few top hits, either -- they play a lot of the cooler stuff lower down in the charts that we actually heard on the radio in those days. It's quite lovely.


*and somewhat handicapped by it