Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • A trademark used for recorded background music transmitted by wire or radio, as to places of business, on a subscription basis.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. Recorded background music transmitted by wire, radio or compact disc on a subscription basis to places of business, etc.
  • proper n. Easy listening music in general.

Etymologies

Derived from a play on the word "music" incorporating the "-ak" from Kodak, by Muzak Corporation (later Muzak Holdings, LLC), a company which pioneered the creation of the genre. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I am well aware that various programs on various stations cover a lot of different types of music, so I put the word "Muzak" in that sentence to absorb the slur a bit.

    NPR Topics: News

  • Muzak, which is known for its background music in stores, hotels and elevators, sought court protection from creditors last February to restructure maturing debt in the midst of the credit crisis.

    FinanzNachrichten.de: Aktuelle Nachrichten

  • Muzak, which is known for providing background music in stores and hotels, said the plan is supported by a majority of its creditors.

    DealBook

  • Part of this may be cultural — Korean variety shows certainly display a pleasantly anything-goes aesthetic — but my sense is that merely singing in English semiotically signals a certain kind of Muzak quality within a dramatic context.

    Archive 2008-04-01

  • Now then, I'll just cue up some sexy saxophone "Muzak" for atmosphere...

    Belly Cakes, Continued

  • The only exclusive things are some special promo/announcer free digital music channels (at least on DirecTV, not sure about Dish since they already offer Muzak which is promo/announcer free).

    Multichannel News: Business News

  • A Google of Muzak turns up the fact that it's been around since the 1930's and was, depending on which spurious bit of Internet research you care to believe, either used to soothe workers who might otherwise revolt, or accompany folks in elevators to quell their fears of plunging to their deaths.

    James Napoli: When Songs Attack: Assaulted by Muzak in the 21st Century

  • Back when I was a wee lad, Muzak was what it was meant to be: wallpaper.

    James Napoli: When Songs Attack: Assaulted by Muzak in the 21st Century

  • For much of his long lifetime, he was also one of the 20th century's most successful entertainers, a purveyor of supersmooth easy-listening music that was distinguishable from Muzak only because he played it with perfect taste.

    Both Good and Popular

  • Clients that we represent are clients such as YouTube, Clear Channel, Muzak, The Orchard, Universal INgrooves, and thousands and thousands and thousands of independent record companies and independent artists, including Spin Magazine and ad agencies.

    Mike Ragogna: Everything's Fine: Chatting with The Summer Set's Brian Dales, Plus Rightsflow President Patrick Sullivan

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