• Andy Zipf Performs New Release at Muzak

    Newest Album Jealous Hands

    Over the last 5 years singer/songwriter Andy Zipf has graced the halls of Muzak on several occasions with his heartfelt lyrics and melodies that just seem to transcend notes.  This week Andy made another highly anticipated appearance to personally introduce his latest release, ‘Jealous Hands.’  The August leg of his current tour brought him to Charlotte, so an afternoon visit to Muzak was a must.

    “Muzak has a great community of people who support the arts and the artists… plus their job helps people discover music.  How cool is that,” Andy comments. “Through the years I’ve been asked by Muzak to collaborate on several projects, thanks in large part to Shawn Moseley (Muzak’s Industry Relations Manager).  It started with a performance at Muzak’s Home Office back in 2006, then an appearance at SXSW, a track on a compilation disc, several Muzak client performances and now the opportunity to introduce my new album to their employees and Audio Architects.  Shawn and Muzak just seem to keep finding creative ways to showcase my music.”

    Andy’s new release, ‘Jealous Minds’ is the most soft-spoken release of the performing singer/songwriter’s career; an Americana record true and pure that stands free of the genre connotations that such a word brings. This is over a year of Zipf’s life captured, from the non-stop life on the road to what ends up coming home, “Jealous Hands” is his story and his soundtrack.

    “I don’t think I’ve ever done anything this personal before,” said Zipf, as ‘Jealous Hands’ is far more than just another record.  It’s an album of breaking safety. Where Zipf once interjected himself into songs at small moments as a visiting guest, he’s now made himself the main character, and his life the setting.

    Once again Muzak thanks Andy Zipf for sharing his music with us.  View the latest Muzak performance  live HERE on our YouTube Site.  For a free download of his new release ‘Jealous Hands’, simply go to www.andyzipf.com.

    Contributed by Bruce McKagan, Company Communications

  • Helping Music Make a Difference

    MM Logo

    Today, Muzak Heart & Soul Foundation announces the recipients of our 2011 Music Matters grant program.  To many Muzak employees, this is the most gratifying day of the year, because it exemplifies what it means to give from the heart and give back to our community.

    Music Matter grants are presented each year to music education programs across the country (K-12) in dire need of funding.  Grant applications are accepted from both school programs and community music programs.  Donations come to the Heart & Soul Foundation from Muzak employees, the company and clients, business partners, and other generous contributors passionate about supporting music education for children.

    After several months of reviewing hundreds of worthy applicants, our Music Matters team of volunteers is proud to present the final 15 grant selections.   And the music education winners are…

    • Aspen Park Elementary, Riverton, WY
    • Blue Ridge Elementary School, Dalton, GA
    • Burke Elementary School, Kansas City, MO
    • Dignity Housing DII Drumline, Philadelphia, PA
    • Forks Middle School, Forks, WA
    • Goliad Elementary, San Angelo, TX
    • Imagine Schools at West Melbourne, West Melbourne, FL
    • Independence High School, Charlotte, NC
    • J.O. Schulze Elementary, Irving, TX
    • Jefferson Middle School Rock and Rhythm Band, Albuquerque, NM
    • Lockland Elementary School, Cincinnati, OH
    • Meadowlark Elementary School, Pittsburg, KS
    • Socastee Elementary School, Myrtle Beach, SC
    • The Cipher – Austin’s Hip Hop Project, Austin, TX
    • Woodlawn Elementary School, San Antonio, TX

    Music Matters director Adrianne Pryor comments, “The absolute appreciation expressed by these selected recipients was beyond description.  Tears and screams of joy were the most common reactions. I don’t think we fully realize the importance our grants have on these needy music programs.”

    The foundation looks forward to presenting checks to each of these worthy programs in person this fall.

    We’ll be sharing the stories of each of the music programs on Muzak Heart & Soul Foundation Facebook Page. For more information about Muzak Heart & Soul Foundation and how you can help support it, go to www.heart.muzak.com.

    social_facebook social_twitter

    Contributed by The Muzak Heart & Soul Team

  • Muzak Idol is Coming!

    Jagger at the 2010 Muzak Idol

    Jagger at the 2010 Muzak Idol

    Imagine it’s Friday afternoon at Muzak.  At exactly 1:55 an email notice goes out to the nearly 500 employees at our Home Office in Fort Mill.  The anticipation has been building for weeks as all the seats in City Center fill-up quickly, with standing room only.  It’s time for the 8th Annual Muzak Idol.  The place is packed as emcee Jagger begins the show at 2PM sharp with a surprise performance of his own.  The crowd loves it and the cheers egg him on for more.

    Then the competition begins.  Six Muzak employees are gathered in the green room counting down the seconds ‘til their names are called.  Selected from a series of auditions, these finalists have been rehearsing for weeks, getting ready for their big moment.  The back-up band, called the m.playerz, and three judges, all music business vets, are in place, as contestant #1 enters to the applause of an exuberant audience of Muzakers.

    Well, that’s how it will go this coming Friday, August 12th at Muzak’s Home Office.  Six contestants, all employees, will sing their hearts out at Muzak Idol.  What a way to spend a Friday afternoon.  A well deserved break from a very busy week; 45 minutes of music and entertainment, all put together by a team of employees called the Shakers.  Pure fun planned for the entire staff.  It’s become a tradition.

    Just another day at Muzak…sorta!

  • Carolina Sound Communications – Muzak Franchisee Speaks Out

    Perry Family

    Perry Family

    There is a saying in Charleston, SC that once you have run your feet through the sand on our beaches, you will always return to Charleston.  Muzak is something like that.

    Who knew 27 years ago, when our family decided to buy the Charleston and Myrtle Beach franchises, after being part of corporate Muzak for three years, that we would become an inter-generational business.  We were neither musicians, nor entrepreneurs, but both converged on an opportunity and we have never looked back.  Now Savannah is also part of our family.

    The people were the first draw for us – not the corporate types, but the franchisees whom we met at the IPMA (Muzak independent affiliate association) meetings who intrigued us.  We had travelled and lived around the world and these folks were interesting.  They loved their business, they loved good food and wine, and they mostly liked each other.   There was a camaraderie… a gentleman-like way of working together that we had not seen in other businesses or groups.  And the music was their common theme.

    What a privilege to sell something as glorious and emotional as music.  We could have been insurance salesmen or stock brokers.  We could have been “madmen” or any of a number of other product reps but we sell dreams.  We get to set the stage for the times of people’s lives…whether through the music or other branding media and there is something about that that gets in your blood.

    And without planning, it seems to get into the blood of our progeny because many of us are happily surrounded by our families who are also involved in the business and in our communities.  Perhaps that is another hook for most of us; though we serve many national clients, we do it in a local fashion as we are part of the network of the communities in which we live and sell and service…

    So the sand in our feet keeps us home and the people and music in our businesses keeps us coming back to Muzak.

    Contributed by Evelyn Reis Perry, President, Carolina Sound Communications, Inc.

  • Glimpse into Our Future

    Video Wall Reveal

    Video Wall Reveal

    At 11:25AM on Thursday June 9th, Muzak’s Home Office in Fort Mill revealed a glimpse into their future.  Ever since the company’s purchase by Mood Media in early May, the new Mood Media/Muzak team has been hard at work integrating the best of both worlds. The digital signage opportunities within the industry were a top focus.  Experiencing significant success with visual media in over 25 countries across Europe and Asia, Mood Media representatives from France, London, Ireland and Belgium came to Muzak for 3 days to share their secret digital signage sauce.

    Then came the moment… Gathering all 500 employees into what Muzak calls their City Center, Mood Media unveiled a huge new video wall, as hundreds more from across the world looked on via the company’s private network.   A magnificent video played, showcasing the power of video for business and the expertise of Mood Media’s London content team.  Three minutes of hair-raising visuals and audio brought the house down.  The cheers reverberated throughout the building as employees realized they had just experienced their future.

    But seeing is believing.  To see and hear what over 1000 Mood Media/Muzak employees experienced that day just watch.

  • Jewel’s “The Merry Goes ‘Round” Release Date Set

    Jewel's Lullaby

    Jewel's Lullaby

    Mood Entertainment announced this week that it will release Jewel’s newest album, “The Merry Goes ‘Round” on August 16, as part of the Fisher-Price Music Series.  This is Jewel’s second children’s album and will be released within months of the birth of her first child, a son.  “Lullaby,” the first album included the single, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” which reached #1 on the Top Children’s Songs chart.

    In her blog, she says of the new release, “I want the album to be fun for kids and adults, whether they have kids or not. I looked at it as a chance to write songs for my baby boy, that he can dance around to when he arrives.”

    Her sweet voice is perfect for children’s songs and still deep enough to appeal to the adults.  The new album includes more up-tempo songs than “Lullaby.”  With rockers playing and producing and styles like Dixieland and bossnova – there should definitely be a fun and unique sound that you won’t want to miss – children at hand or not.

  • Lots of NOISE! in Charlotte

    H&S_LogoWith the recent purchase of Muzak by Mood Media (see more in section 411), the press has been busy releasing stories about the merger, the personalities and the international impact.  The volume on the news coming out of the Mood Media/Muzak North American headquarters in Fort Mill, has been turned up.

    Another story is starting to reverberate from the Charlotte area that’s beginning to catch the ears and hearts of the community.  Muzak’s Heart & Soul Foundation was founded in 1998 as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, dedicated to supporting music education for elementary to high school students.  One of Heart & Soul’s primary educational programs is called NOISE!, which invites dozens of high school students with a talent and passion for music to a 10 day summer camp to learn all about the music industry.  All student expenses for NOISE! are covered by the Heart & Soul Foundation.  Over the past 12 years, NOISE! camp has been held in New York, LA, Atlanta and Nashville.  This year, starting July 10th, NOISE! comes to Charlotte.

    Sixteen high school students will be coming from across the US to attend NOISE! camp, based on the campus of Winthrop University in Rock Hill, just outside of Charlotte.  Music counselors, along with industry experts from across the country, will guide the students through the nuances of composing, producing, recording, marketing, booking and managing.  It’s an intense, non-stop music program that immerses these talented and musically gifted kids deeply into their passion.

    Muzak’s Director of Licensing and coordinator of NOISE! 2011 curriculum, Jason McCormick comments, “after this year’s camp each student will walk away with a clear understanding of what it takes to create, market and sell music.  NOISE! gives all 16 students  a once in a lifetime opportunity to test drive their dreams.”

    For more information about Muzak Heart & Soul go to: heart.muzak.com

    Contributed by Bruce McKagan, Company Communications, Heart & Soul Foundation

  • Something’s Burning

    abstract fire on blackAfter spending the last 3 years digging into our past 77 years, I’ve discovered that as some aspects of Muzak have remained the same, many more have evolved and changed.  Through 8 decades we’ve had over 10 owners, relocated our corporate offices 8 times, 3 of them coast to coast, and have had over 25 different presidents/CEOs.  With new company goals and objectives, Muzak has flexed with the needs.  Through the depression, WWII, Watergate, Woodstock, disco and recessions, we’ve adjusted our practices to change with the times, events, people and business.

    But there’s a piece of this company of ours that just seems to live on.  It’s become part of our culture.  I call it the spirit of our people.

    Some attribute the origins of this spirit to our franchisee network, many of whom have been Muzakers for several generations: the stories they tell, the experiences they share, the expertise they worked so hard to gain, the community of family they have built.  Some say it’s the music: Muzak pioneers who helped craft the music industry since 1934, the music played each and every day in Muzak offices, the fact that we attract so many musically passionate employees – they always find wonderful ways to share their talents.  Others say it’s our spirit of giving, exemplified by Muzak’s Heart & Soul Foundation, supporting music education for kids.

    When I was asked to help build our Home Office in Fort Mill, SC back in 2000, we agreed to design it to encourage openness and communication, creativity and community.  Eleven years later it continues to foster that same spirit.  And we can’t forget the Muzak Green Team, the Shakers and the hordes of employees who always seem ready to help in any way they can to make this a better place to work.

    I once read that the easiest way to assess your company’s culture is to look around.  How do the employees act; what do they do?  Look for common behaviors and visible symbols.

    So, go ahead and look around.  What you’ll find is an undeniable spirit at the center of our Muzak culture: a spirit that has kept the fire burning for 77 years, a spirit whose embers are fueled by our Muzak family each and every day.

    Contributed by Bruce McKagan, Company Communications, Heart & Soul Foundation

  • It’s in the Blood

    Logo Head

    This weekend I decided to take some time to step back and think about what’s really going on inside Muzak… my home for over 15 years.

    If you’ve been following this blog, or read the parade of Muzak press releases over the last few years, you are aware that we’ve been through more changes than most companies experience in a lifetime.  Since 2008, this 77-year-old company has successfully withstood a potential merger, bankruptcy, two sales and a change at the top.  All of this while making significant strides in distribution technologies, product lines, productivity and customer service.

    So, what is it that has held us together through all this change and commotion?  Sure, some employees were not comfortable with the change, and opted to leave.  Also, several new execs, with their own unique management goals and style, created a level of insecurity for some employees, which was to be expected.  But, through it all, there continues to be something at Muzak that holds this place together.

    My dad was a fireman for 28 years.  It was who he was.  The experiences he shared with his fellow firemen created the glue that bonded him to his work.  The fire stories he’d tell at night would make me squirm, but the pride he had for his work was inspirational.  The guys meant everything to my dad.  His work and his mates were like a second family to him.

    My son lives with his family in our home town of Seattle.  Last weekend we were catching up on the phone when the topic turned to Muzak.  He started laughing when I began conversing about a project I was working on with several employees.  I had to take a step back when he said, “Dad, sometimes I can’t tell the difference between your work and you.  I guess that’s just who you are.”   It had a familiar ring to it.

    There’s something about the people, the relationships, the experiences, and the culture here at Muzak that keeps so many of us engaged.  It’s the pride for our history, our passion for music, a commitment to giving back to our communities and this crazy but wonderful business that keeps us coming back.   Several of our franchise owners have been around for two and three generations.  Twenty-five years of service by employees is a fairly common occurrence.  Last year over 250 employees celebrated 10 years or more with Muzak.  I’ve never run the numbers, but I have to believe that the average tenure of our 1,000 employees and hundreds of affiliates is a least double any similar company.  There’s a special pride in where we’ve been, who we are, and where we’re going.  For so many of us this place is simply in our blood.

    The future looks extremely bright here at Muzak.  The economy is showing clear signs of a rebound and our sales staff is loaded and running.  Our new owners, Mood Media, are excited to grow this business we love.

    Is there such a thing as blood type “M”?

    Contributed by Bruce McKagan, Company Communications, Heart & Soul Foundation

  • What’s the Buzz?

    Logo Balloons City Center

    With the news last Friday of the completed acquisition of Muzak by Mood Media Corporation, does that mean the end to the 77-year-old company whose name has become a household word?  Should the employees of this so called elevator icon pack up their bags and call it quits?

    Well, if you were to walk into the headquarters of Muzak in Fort Mill, SC you’d think anything but that.  The place looks like a party Mecca.  Welcome banners, hundreds of balloons, festive music from every corner, inside and out, and smiles galore.  Hardly the look you’d expect from a company with a sold sign in the front lawn.

    So here’s the inside scoop.  We’ve been waiting for this event to take place for more years than I can count.  You see, we’ve been owned by financial institutions for over 35 years.  Mood Media is so much more than that.  Lorne Abony, Mood Media CEO and chairman states:  “We are delighted to complete this transformative acquisition, which enables us to become a truly global leader in this space.  We are excited and eager to begin realizing the significant growth opportunities and synergies in a combination that will benefit both our customers and our shareholders.”

    Lorne also announced that Muzak’s home office in Fort Mill will become the North American headquarters for Mood Media.  Management teams from Mood Media and Muzak are already in strategic sessions, exploring revolutionary ways to grow our collective business.

    The buzz at Muzak’s home office is palpable.   Our employees, affiliates, partners and clients are already feeling the vibrations.  The helium in the balloons might only last a few days, but the excitement generated by Mood Media’s acquisition of Muzak could last another 77 years.

    For more information on Mood Media Corporation visit www.moodmedia.com.

    Contributed by Bruce McKagan, Company Communications, Heart & Soul Foundation

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