• The Elves Are Busy

    holiday imageSomething that I learned my very first year at Muzak is that the Christmas holiday season doesn’t just happen.  In fact for several years, beginning in about August my alert on my computer was changed to a snippet of “Making Christmas” from the soundtrack of “Nightmare Before Christmas.”

    Each year since, I have become more entwined in the season that often begins in early summer.  Here at Muzak the product, marketing, architecture, and delivery teams have been working together for months and are putting finishing touches on much of what our clients and prospects will see as they begin preparations for their biggest sales season of the year.  Our Audio Architects are building 24 different options for our clients who want to add a little festivity to their stores and offices.

    According to Entertainment Media Research Ltd, “for 85% of people Christmas without Christmas music wouldn’t be as good” and “hearing Christmas songs they like when shopping gets them in a festive spirit and what ’s more nearly 1 in 4 reckon they’re more generous buying presents if Christmas music they like is being played.”  Considering retailers generally see 25-40% of their sales in November and December, Christmas music can make a pretty big difference, not to mention what digital signage and scent can do.

    So while much of America get their kids back to school and look forward to football games and bonfires, we are putting the finishing touches on preparations to handle the rollout of our (and our client’s) busiest time of year.  And the question that always comes up – yes, I do still love Christmas music and the whole holiday season and look forward to it every year!

    To find out more about what Muzak is offering for holiday this year, visit our holiday landing page.

    Sources:

    National Retail Foundation

    MusicWorksforYou.com

  • I Know Her!

    gas station

    A post on Vox Daily reminded me of a vacation nine years ago. We were driving from Charlotte to the Florida Panhandle. It was late at night and we were in unfamiliar territory in rural Alabama. We pulled off for gas and caffeine to get us through the final leg of the trip. I was filling up the car when a voice came on overhead through the speakers, inviting us inside to purchase tasty snacks and refreshing beverages from the convenience store. The voice was unmistakably familiar…so familiar in fact, it was the last voice we had heard before we left Charlotte. It was our friend Becky Hoech, former Muzak voice talent, and dog sitter extraordinaire.  The last stop as we were leaving town was to drop our dogs off at Becky’s. I wanted to wave my hands and shout, “I know her! And she has my kids too!” What a reassuring feeling it was to hear Becky’s friendly, confident voice in that remote, alien place. I went inside, grabbed a little sustenance and thanked them for being a Muzak Voice client. Still today, I always listen to overhead messaging at convenience and retail stores for a familiar voice. When I hear one, it’s everything I can do not to turn to the people nearby, point up at the speakers and say, “I know that guy!”

    Contributed by Adrianne “Ace” Pryor, Product Line Manager, Voice

  • Ready to Rock Your World!

    Guitar WallWhat do “Weird Al” Yankovic, Bill Szymczyk, Little Steven, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Tom Petty, execs from Rack Room Shoes, Lowes, Burger King, Belk, Chick-fil-A, Sephora, and Duff McKagan all have in common?  They are all friends of Muzak… and we have their autographs to prove it!

    Hundreds of personalities from business and music have walked the streets of our Home Office and been greeted by the cheers of our employees at City Center.  Because we’ve had so many celebrities and business partners visit us over the last 10 years, we’ve begun a tradition here at Muzak.  We ask each guest to sign one of our special electric guitars.  At last count we’ve amassed a collection of 15 guitars, each packed with autographs and proudly displayed in our Café.   It’s become a must see at our Muzak Home Office.

    So, if you’re a business looking to enhance the sensory experience of your brand, and you’re visiting or live in the Charlotte area,  come on down to Fort Mill where the North American headquarters of Muzak and Mood Media is located.

    Our “Guitar Wall” will impress you… and our Home Office and employees will rock your world!

  • 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!

  • Rock Stars

    Q2 2011 Rock Stars

    Q2 2011 Rock Stars

    Every company has some.  Some companies more than others.  You know… those employees that simply transcend all expectations.  But does every company take the time to recognize these exceptional performers?

    For years, Muzak has honored special guests, touring musicians and clients as rock celebrities, having them sign guitars that are proudly displayed at our Home Office in Fort Mill, SC.  Hey, we’re in the music business, so it just makes sense.  At last count, we’ve got over 15 autographed guitars; each packed with the signatures of these special Muzak ‘celebs’.

    Upon his arrival at Muzak last year, new president Steve Richards was looking for a way to identify and thank our exemplary employees… the ones he called our “Rock Stars.”  Our Rewards & Recognition team had been waiting for the right opportunity to initiate an all company program that would do just that.  Muzak Rock Stars was born: an all company program that awards top performers who go above and beyond their job duties to consistently find ways to improve processes, productivity, sales, teamwork and/or the quality of the work environment at Muzak.

    So now each quarter up to 15 employees are selected from hundreds of nominees as Muzak Rock Stars:  technicians, administrators, IT specialists, programmers, call center reps, sales support, warehouse personnel, designers and the list goes on.  Each of these quarterly top performers is recognized at an all-company Town Hall meeting, in front of our 500 Home Office employees and streamed to over 750 field employees and franchisees.  Each Rock Star receives an engraved trophy, a spotlight in our weekly digital newsletter and internal web site, a feature on our Muzak digital signage network and some cash!  We also have a special Gibson SG guitar (collector’s model) with each quarter’s Rock Stars engraved on the pick guard.  It is mounted front-and-center with our 15 other autographed guitars.  All of this coupled with lots of high fives, hugs, handshakes and emails from an appreciative team of employees and managers.

    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

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