Have you ever asked yourself why this so-called “elevator music” exists if you don’t usually hear music in elevators?
I’m sure you have. And you won’t be the first or the last person to ask this question, but everything has its reasons.
During the first years when the elevator was used more regularly, people who used it felt uncomfortable staying in such a narrow cabin with so many people for several minutes.
Many people felt dizzy because of the height at which the elevator was reaching, others felt claustrophobic and began to have anxiety. The problem was that they were too focused on the experience inside the elevator.
This was going to be solved through an element we all know: the music.
Muzak, the music of the elevators
Muzak music, now also known as ‘elevator music’ or ‘background music’, began in the 1920s.
In fact, the expression “Muzak” is due to the commercial name of the American company created by businessman George Owen Squier.
Originally, the company was involved in multiplexing telephone carriers, i.e. emitting several signals by a single transmission medium.
This led him to discover the fact that it could broadcast music through the electrical cable, and could take the music, among other places, to the elevators of skyscrapers, where it was used to calm the occupants and improve their experience in the cabin.
It was so successful that in the 1940s it was used in companies and factories to increase employee productivity.
To achieve this goal, experts said that songs should be chosen that could be “heard but not listened to”.
That is melodic songs but without lyrics.
It was also emphasized that the volume should be moderate and the greatest hits of the artists of the moment should be avoided. In this way, workers would not be distracted.
Over time, Muzak music has become ubiquitous, whatever the field we look at.
From the corporate melody that sounds during the waiting time on a phone call to the soft and quiet background music we hear in shopping malls and wellness spaces.
That’s why, although it’s still called “elevator music”, Muzak music is no longer associated with this area, but serves as a synonym for the well-known “background music”.
The 3 best genres of Muzak music
As we have seen, the main purposes of elevator music are:
To virtually reduce the waiting time
Relaxing users by reducing their stress and creating a positive mood area
There are some genres that are quite helpful in achieving these three goals. Below we will show the 3 best accepted by the public.
This is a musical style created by the African-American public in the United States at the end of the 19th century. Its themes can be vocal or instrumental and its main feature is improvisation.
A good selection of instrumental jazz songs will help design the relaxing atmosphere you are looking for.
This genre could be said to be a style of Brazilian Jazz, which mixes sounds from the quintessential Brazilian folk music: the samba.
Created in the 1950s, bossa nova has a style in which percussion is reduced and the characteristic Brazilian guitar sounds abound.
Widely used in hotel lobbies, it is a pleasant mix between jazz and bossa nova. It can also incorporate somewhat more electronic sounds characteristic of Chill Out and House.
It features rhythms that could be described as sensual, a little overdone instrumentation and danceable beats.
Do I have to pay to use elevator music?
If you are asking yourself this question, I want to let you know that the answer is clear: of course.
As long as you use copyrighted music, you have to pay for it.
Who should I pay?
To the PROs.
PRO are acronym of ‘Performance Rights Organizations‘ and is responsible for defending and managing the intellectual property rights in each country, (BMI, ASCAP or SESAC in USA, PPL-PRS in the UK…).
The cost varies depending on the square meters of the center where you want to play the music.
Once you have this information, you should contact this society so that they can tell you the monthly or annual price you will have to pay them.
However, I warn you beforehand that the amounts are usually quite high. That’s why many people take other alternatives like the ones I’ll explain later.
What if I use a music stream or a platform like YouTube or Spotify?
I’m telling you, these options are a little risky.
In the case of Spotify, most of its music is copyrighted. So if you use it without the permission of the PROs, you’ll be breaking the law.
The same goes for YouTube.
It’s pretty hard to find Royalty-Free music. However, in the case that you find non-copyrighted tracks, you also risk getting ads in the middle of the playback, giving an unserious image.
If you use a music thread you will need to make sure that you do not violate the copyright. You will need to look at the terms of the contract you signed with your music provider and see if it actually complies with the law.
What happens if I intentionally or unintentionally infringe copyright?
Whenever a resort or business uses background music it faces an inspection by the PROs. If that is the case and it is all carried out in a legal way, absolutely nothing will happen.
But if you are found to be using protected music illegally, you will be fined huge amounts of money, and you may even be held legally and criminally liable.
This organizations have no tolerance for the illegal use of protected artworks.
Therefore, the most advisable thing, both legally and economically, is to use alternatives to the PROs.
The 3 best platforms to get elevator music
As you have just seen, there are two ways to use background music: paying an exaggerated amount through the PROs or looking for economical alternatives such as Audiojungle.
You know the first option. Now it’s time to discover the rest of them.
Established in 2013 by two former Spotify employees, the Swedish company has one of the largest music libraries available to businesses.
It currently has over 300 music stations – soundtracks – available, with thousands of tracks that have been consciously chosen for use as background music.
All of these soundtracks are updated daily with over 10,000 songs per day, something that not all streaming music companies can say.
Apart from this, Soundtrack Your Brand also differs from its competitors in the musical curation it provides, which is the result of a new system that combines AI with exquisite music selection by experts.
In addition, with a monthly subscription to this platform you can enjoy the following benefits:
Reproduction in different locations, inside or outside the same building
Complete control of the background music
More than 300 lists prepared for whatever your musical requirement is
Possibility to create new soundtracks by mixing several stations
Programming the music according to the day and time
Music remote control on all your devices
Dispobile for iOS, Android and Windows
Ability to sync with your Spotify lists
Please note that although you can sync your Spotify account, Soundtrack Your Brand has no relationship with Spotify for Business.
What is the price of Soundtrack Your Brand?
The first thing to mention is that Soundtrack Your Brand is a monthly subscription service.
That said, its price may vary depending on the location of your business. For example:
In the USA and Canada, the price is $34.99 per month
In the UK, the subscription will cost GBP 26.99 per month
In Spain and other European countries, the price will be 24.29 EUR per month
If you want to know the price of this service in your country you can check it here.
Soundtrack Your Brand is offering a free 30-day trial period for new customers.
This way, you can try all the advantages of their services at no cost, and only pay if it is really the solution you were looking for.
Previously you could see that the evolution of Muzak music was from the elevators to the most sophisticated businesses and complexes.
And there’s only one reason for this: to improve the user experience and increase the spending.
In fact, there are several studies that claim that there is a direct relationship between the music we listen to and our motivation to consume.
One such study was conducted in the United States on a set of customers separated into three groups.
The first group was shown a pen with the background music from the movie ‘Saturday Night Fever’.
The second group was introduced to the same pen with a type of Indian music.
Finally, the third group was shown the same item, but this time without music.
The results of the study were overwhelming: 70% chose the pen they had seen while listening to the music related to the film, 25% chose the pen with Indian music in the background, leaving a tiny 5% for those who bought the product without background sound.
Another study conducted in France showed that, when buying wine in a Parisian shop, customers tended to buy the most expensive wines if they listened to classical music in the background.
But the most striking case is one of the famous British groups, ‘The Beatles’.
In the 1960s, they were presented as the new musical phenomenon to the world, not only because of their music, but also because of the favorable press they received from newspapers, radio and television.
However, this expensive investment in promotion was not having the desired effect on the adult audience, which was the sector that had the money and on which the purchase decisions in the market fell.
So they decided to record several of their most famous songs in instrumental version and set to be used as background music, Muzak style. The movement was a complete success, and they were able to reach and convert that adult audience they were looking for into customers.
The song “Yesterday” was the most requested.
You’ve already proven that “elevator music” is not just for elevators. In fact, these days, you will see very few elevators with music in the background.
Now you understand where that much-used term, which was originally known as ‘Muzak music’, comes from, what its history is, where it comes from and what it is mainly used for in our times: to improve the user experience and increase sales.
But be careful! Remember that not just any music or any kind of platform will do.
The genres that fit best are Jazz, Bossa Nova and Lounge but, depending on your business, maybe a more electronic style like Chill Out or House or, on the contrary, more ambient or instrumental music will suit your needs.
Whatever it is the case, don’t make the mistake of reproducing it from a CD, YouTube, or Spotify. You know that if you do, you risk being inspected and fined by the PROs, whose financial penalties can be quite high.
To avoid them, it’s best to either pay the expensive PROs licenses or look for an alternative that is just as legal but much cheaper, such as Audiojungle.
The platform offers you a huge catalog of possibilities, with super intuitive menus and filters that will make you find the music you are looking for in a few clicks.
You can also pre-listen to each of the music tracks to make sure they’re 100% the style you’re looking for.
So if you want to improve the experience of your customers and increase sales through the so-called “elevator music”, avoiding future fines for copyright infringement, do not wait any longer and choose Audiojungle to try right now.
Pablo Olóndriz founded Legis Music in 2016 and, since then, has been working non-stop on the online Royalty-Free industry, managing to build a great source of information for people who need amazing background music for their projects and videos.
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