Pi Attitude Zone: Flexibility

Christmas Muzak Goes Segmented

Christmas shoppers, moving from store to store, may or may not have noticed that there is more to the ambient music they’re hearing than just “White Christmas” and “Winter Wonderland”.

Dynamic Media of Michigan figured you might be fed up with Bing Crosby and Perry Como, so they came up with a music loop called “Country Christmas”, with the American mid-West and bluegrass territory in mind.  And Mood Media, the owners of the Muzak piped-music brand, started offering over 30 variants on their seasonal in-store soundtrack range.  The tunes are not random:  they’re targeted.

What’s behind the proliferation of these different Christmas music offerings?  Well, someone at Mood Media figured out that people shopping in Christian bookstores would be in the mood for different musical fare than, say, young people shopping for lurid shoot-‘em-up videogames.  And both would be different again from people ambling through the mall in bilingual English-Spanish America – cue Gloria Estefan’s “Abriendo Puertas”.  It’s about demographics and attitudes.

Family-friendly stores want their Christmas music sweet, predictable and traditional.  Edgier retailers roll their eyes at all that syrupy sweetness, and go more for Lady Gaga singing “Take off my stockings, we’re... out spreading Christmas cheer”, or Kanye West doing “Christmas in Harlem” – “Won’t you come sit on my knee?... ‘Cause baby, I’m your Santa Claus”. 

Indeed, the retail science of ambient music is getting so sophisticated that malls are now “dayparting” their muzak tracks, targeting the music to moms in the daytime, teens after school, and beautiful people after nightfall.  Lunchtime in a restaurant will be accompanied by pepped-up high-tempo tunes (they want you to hurry up and finish, so they can seat someone else at your table), while dinner in the evening will be accompanied by slow, languorous music geared to getting guests to linger ...and drink more expensive liqueurs.

Sleighbells ring, are you listening?”  Hmmm...  The answer to that question depends on who you are, and where you’re doing your Xmas shopping.

Zone: Flexibility Country: USA / North America Product – Retail