Canned Music and Captive Audiences: The Battle Over Public Soundspace at Grand Central Terminal and the Emergence of the New Sound

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Abstract

This article recounts the fight over public soundspace at Grand Central Terminal in 1949 after management began using Muzak, punctuated by commercial advertisements, to manage and monetize the soundscape. The public protests against these broadcasts in the press were followed by public hearings which weighed the commuter’s right to be left alone with his or her own thoughts against the company’s right broadcast sell the public soundspace. The author argue that this case, which was tied to a similar case before the Supreme Court, set a legal precedent allowing public soundspaces to be monetized in the same way as physical or visual spaces were, and set the stage for the ubiquitous engineering of public soundspaces that is the norm today.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-310
Number of pages25
JournalCommunication Review
Volume17
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2 2014

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Audition
broadcast
music
Acoustic waves
commuter
protest
Supreme Court
engineering
management

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication

Cite this

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