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When the soundtrack turns Subliminal

At the peak of financial earning season last week, business reporters spent “countless minutes” on hold, listening to background music while waiting for corporate quarterly conference calls to begin. Sometimes the song seemed part of the message, as when Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” was the prelude to NCR’s lament of how a “spate of canceled customer orders spoiled its second quarter. And while holding for upbeat news from Southwest Airlines about solid profits that left most other airlines breathing its exhaust, a reporter could muse ton an instrumental version of “Dust in the wind”. What companies typically want is a light jazz or classical selection; that typically helps the caller calm down. This is called elevator music.

“Actually, the elevator music concept has its roots in history”, said Muzak, a major provider of on-hold music. “ When elevators first appeared, people didn’t want to get on them. They were considered death traps. The music was meant to soothe them”



Countless: innumerevoli

On hold: in attesa

To spoil: rovinare

Breathing is exhaust: boccheggiare

To muse: riflettere

To soothe: confortare

Spate: flusso

Quarterly: quadrimestrali

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