Muzak is in the Mood


Little noticed in recent weeks was the latest lease on life for Muzak. Should you be so inclined, you can now buy stock in the 77-year-old background music service.

Muzak, which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization a little over a year ago, has now been acquired by Mood Media for $345 million. Muzak is a strategic fit with Toronto-based Mood Media, which provides services through its In-Store Media and Retail Point-of-Purchase divisions to more than 800 retail chains in more than 30 countries throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

The stock of Mood Media, which trades on the Toronto exchange as MM, has been rising since March, when it reported strong earnings, the Muzak acquisition and plans for more international expansion. The purchase of Muzak closed this month.

Although derisively referred to as “elevator music,” Muzak years ago diversified into providing multiple music genres to business clients. It claims to reach more than 100 million people daily. “Through a national sales and service network, Muzak designs, delivers and installs custom music, voice messaging, Digital Signage networks, leading drive-thru equipment and professional sound systems to a variety of clients in multiple industries including retail, hospitality and restaurant,” the company states.

In recent years, though, Muzak has faced increasing competition. Sirius XM has been aggressive in selling its satellite radio services to retail stores and there are a number of companies offering custom-branded “radio” stations to retail chains. After all, why be commercial free when you can use the background music system to run commercials for your own store to customers in the aisles?

RBR-TVBR observation: You qualify as an old-timer in radio if you can remember working at an FM station which leased a subcarrier to Muzak. For a few decades now the music has been satellite-delivered.