Muzak and the Working Dead


Premiering in the late 1940s, Stimulus Progression is a method of organising music according to an ‘ascending curve’ that works counter to the ‘industrial efficiency curve’ (also denoted as the average worker’s ‘fatigue curve’). Subdued songs, progressing to more stimulating songs, in fifteen-minute sequences (followed by silences of between thirty seconds and a quarter of an hour between transmissions) throughout the work day yields better worker efficiency and productivity than does random musical programming. The industrial functionalization of organised sound begins…