The company known as Muzak claims to provide “audio architecture” for its clients.
Audio architecture may sound wonderful; the phrase may conjure up images of cathedrals made from noise – whole buildings connected by bridges of music – but, in the world of Muzak, it means something less exciting. Audio architecture, Muzak writes, is “the integration of music, voice and sound to create experiences designed specifically for your business.”
In other words, audio architecture is about making you feel comfortable – so that someone else can sell you things.
The “power” of audio architecture, Muzak’s website continues, “lies in its subtlety.” These subtle sounds, played incessantly in the background, can “bypass the resistance of the mind and target the receptiveness of the heart.” It is thus almost literally subliminal. “When people are made to feel good in, say, a store, they feel good about that store. They like it,” Muzak claims. “Audio architecture builds a bridge to loyalty. And loyalty is what keeps brands alive.”
If there is a connection between background sounds and customer loyalty, perhaps sound could also inspire a kind of urban loyalty, where the sound of a certain city plays its own subtle role in making that place more inhabitable.
Like Muzak, the city’s sound makes residents “feel good” – which “builds a bridge to [urban] loyalty.”