About Our Company | MOOD: Santa Barbara
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About Our Company

OUR TIMELINE OF HISTORY

OUR START

Mr. David Payne started Muzicraft in 1952 in Santa Barbara, California.  With a population around 45,000, Mr. Payne introduced MUZAK to the Tri-County Area.  I’m sure you know the term Muzak now, but please remember that the term Muzak wasn’t trademarked until two years later in 1954!  Additionally, Muzak wasn’t anything close to the music we here from MOOD, today.  The music was programmed in 15-minute blocks, gradually getting faster in tempo and louder and brassier in instrumentation, to encourage workers to speed up their pace. Following the completion of a 15-minute segment, the music would fall silent for 15 minutes. This was partly done for technical reasons, but company-funded research also showed that alternating music with silence limited listener fatigue, and made the “stimulus” effect of Stimulus Progression more effective.

THROUGH THE YEARS

  • 1910 | Telephone Multiplexing

    Inventor Major General George Owen Squier, credited with inventing telephone carrier multiplexing in 1910, developed the original technical basis for Muzak.

  • 1922 | Wired Radio Inc.

    In 1922, the rights to Squier's patents were acquired by the North American Company utility conglomerate, which created a company named Wired Radio Inc. to deliver music to their customers, charging them for music right on their electric bill. By the 1930s, however, radio had made great advances, and households began listening to broadcasts picked up through the airwaves for free, supported by advertising.

  • 1934 | Muzak is Born

    Squier remained involved in the project, but as the home market became eclipsed by radio in 1934 he changed the direction of the company to deliver music to commercial clients. He was intrigued by the made-up word Kodak being used as a trademark and so took the first syllable from "music" and added the "ak" from "Kodak" to create the name Muzak which became the new name of the company.

  • 1937 | Warner Brothers

    In 1937, the Muzak division was purchased from the North American Company by Warner Brothers, which expanded it into other cities. It was bought by entrepreneur William Benton. While Muzak had initially produced tens of thousands of original artist recordings by the top performers of the late-30s and 1940s, their new strategy required a different sound.

  • 1940's | Stimulus Progression

    The company began customizing the pace and style of the music provided throughout the workday in an effort to maintain productivity (a technique it called "Stimulus Progression"). The music was programmed in 15-minute blocks, gradually getting faster in tempo and louder and brassier in instrumentation, to encourage workers to speed up their pace. Following the completion of a 15-minute segment, the music would fall silent for 15 minutes. This was partly done for technical reasons, but company-funded research also showed that alternating music with silence limited listener fatigue, and made the "stimulus" effect of Stimulus Progression more effective.

  • 1980's | Audio Architecture

    Through the 1980s and 1990s, Muzak moved away from the “elevator music” approach, and instead began to offer multiple specialized channels of popular music. Muzak pioneered "audio architecture", a process of designing custom music playlists for specific clients.

  • 1986 | End of Muzak?

    Even with the changes in format, rocker Ted Nugent used Muzak as an icon of everything "uncool" about music. In 1986, he publicly made a $10 million bid to purchase the company with the stated intent of shutting it down. His bid was refused, but served as a name-branding publicity stunt for both parties!

  • 1990's | The FIRST Satellite Radio

    By the late 1990s, the Muzak corporation rebranded itself; as of 2010, Muzak distributes 3 million commercially available original artist songs from digital satellite feeds. Today, Muzak offers almost 150 channels of music via satellite or IP delivery, in addition to completely custom music programs tailored to their clients' needs.

AND TODAY…

From Background Music to the Forefront of Experiential Design

Muzak created the background music industry more than 80 years ago. We’ve come a long way over the years to create a comprehensive suite of customer experience and audio visual solutions, supported by a global service network with unmatched capabilities. Today we are Mood. By Design.

As the global leader for Experience Design Solutions, we help brands connect with their customers by providing music, digital signage, hold music, on-hold messaging, scent, integrated audio-visual, and interactive mobile marketing solutions that help our clients create an unforgettable experience for their customers.