Elevator Shaft, from Wikimedia
Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche
Musak, the company that’s perpetrated mutant nightmare earworms for generations and visited ruin and madness on the brains of countless hapless employees at Dairy Queens worldwide, have filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. This means that they will remain in operation while they restructure, according to this CNN story.
Once, when I was the Marketing Manager at Good Vibrations, sales reps from Musak visited me to ask me if I was familiar with the laws concerning use of music in a commercial space. Turned out if we were playing CDs, we were flouting the authority of ASCAP and running a small but significant risk that some Mafia thug with a clipboard would walk in to the store some day and write us up a bill.
On the other hand, the sales reps told me, we could partner with Musak to provide quality music to vibrator-buying genderqueer bisexuals and Marin-dwelling B&T straight couples alike.
These reps were pretty, perfumed, slick, smooth, and hep to the ways of us downtown San Crisco cats, baby. They were bizarrely seductive, like Goethe’s Satan. Or, more accurately, like some sort of tarted-up vision from the Twilight Zone, informing me that no longer did Musak provide only one flavor of earworm. The synth-laden Henry Mancini reimaginings of Creedence Clearwater Revival tunes were no more, or at least no longer exclusively what the ‘Zak provided. No, they could give us dozens of channels to choose from on their state-of-the-art electronic system; we could go with coffeeshop pop, hard rock, smooth jazz, whatever.
Now, I’ve seen the Twilight Zone, so I did not sign on the dotted line and have them repossess my eardrums with a hacksaw or induct my children into a world of Funhouse Mirrors where they would listen to easy-rock Beatles covers until they killed themselves with the conveniently-provided assortment of cheese graters.
No, I smiled, thanked them for their time, and showed them to the door.
Apparently the rest of the world has seen the Twilight Zone, too. Take that, Musak.