The Evolution of Elevator Music: Dubstep Edition

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Dubstep has taken the world by storm and infiltrated every nook and cranny- even our beloved elevator music. Let’s take a look at how this new genre is changing the way we listen to music in public places.

The History of Elevator Music

The first recorded use of elevator music was in the early 1920s, when it was used to calm nerves and soothe patients during surgery. The concept of using music to calm nerves caught on, and by the 1930s, elevator music was being used in elevators all over the world. The genre of elevator music has evolved over the years, and today, elevator music is often used to create a relaxed or even playful atmosphere.

The origins of elevator music

Elevator music is a popular type of background music that is often played in public places such as supermarkets, department stores, and office buildings. The music is designed to be unobtrusive and to create a calm, relaxed atmosphere.

Elevator music was first introduced in the early 1900s, when Muzak, a US-based company, began broadcasting piped-in music into factories and other commercial workplaces. The idea was that the music would improve workers’ productivity and morale.

Muzak’s elevator music became hugely popular in the 1950s and 1960s, when Muzak began selling its services to businesses across the United States. The company’s success led to the development of numerous imitators, and elevator music became commonplace in a wide range of public places.

In recent years, elevator music has undergone something of a revival, with many businesses now choosing to play more modern styles of music such as jazz, classical, or rock. However, the term “elevator music” is still often used to describe any type of background music that is played in public places.

The rise of elevator music

Elevator music has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Once considered simply “background noise,” elevator music has evolved into a complex and often emotional experience, capable of eliciting a wide range of reactions from those who hear it.

The first known instance of elevator music can be traced back to the early 20th century, when American composer and musician George Wright began playing his piano in the lobbies of New York City office buildings. Wright’s simple melodies soon caught on, and before long, other businesses began hiring musicians to play in their elevators as well.

It wasn’t long before composers began tailoring their pieces specifically for elevator use, taking into account the limited amount of time that passengers would be exposed to the music. These shorter, more simplistic pieces came to be known as “outcues,” and they would go on to form the foundation of what we now know as elevator music.

In the 1940s, with the advent of recorded music, outcues began to be mass-produced and distributed to businesses for use in their elevators. One of the earliest and most successful purveyors of elevator music was Muzak, a company that specialized in producing “mood-enhancing” background music. Muzak’s approach to elevator music was based on the belief that certain sounds and melodies could have a positive effect on people’s emotions, making them more calm and productive.

Muzak’s approach proved to be hugely successful, and by the 1950s, elevator music had become a staple in offices and other public places all across America. The genre continued to grow in popularity over the next few decades, eventually giving rise to such subgenres as easy listening and new age.

In recent years, elevator music has undergone something of a renaissance, thanks in part to the popularity of modern musical genres like dubstep. While some purists may scoff at the idea of dubstep being played in an elevator, there’s no denying that this new breed of background music has brought new life to an old favorite.

The decline of elevator music

Since the late 1990s, elevator music has been on the decline. This is due to a number of factors, including the rise of other forms of background music (like Muzak) and the growing popularity of personal music players (like iPods). In addition, many people find elevator music to be annoying or distracting. As a result, more and more businesses are choosing to not have any background music at all.

The Future of Elevator Music

Dubstep, a genre of Electronic Dance Music (EDM), has seen a recent surge in popularity. What was once an underground genre of music, has now become mainstream with the help of artists such as Skrillex and Flux Pavilion. This newfound popularity has led to dubstep music being played in all sorts of places, including elevators.

The resurgence of elevator music

Elevator music is making a comeback in a big way. Once the preserve of offices and shopping malls, the lo-fi genre is now being embraced by a new generation of clubs and bars.

The new wave of elevator music venues is inspired by the dubstep clubs of London and Berlin, which have been offering an alternative to the city’s more mainstream nightlife for years.

While traditional elevator music is often associated with blandness and sterility, the new breed of clubs is anything but. These subterranean soundsystems are pumping out bass-heavy tracks at ear-splitting levels, creating an intense and immersive experience for clubbers.

So why has elevator music become so popular? Well, it seems that clubbers are tired of the same old four-on-the-floor beats being churned out by commercial DJs. Dubstep offers something different: a chance to get lost in the moment and escape the outside world.

With its origins in UK garage and 2-step, dubstep has always been about subverting expectations and breaking new ground. And that’s exactly what the new wave of elevator music clubs is doing. So if you’re looking for something different, don’t be afraid to go underground…

The evolution of elevator music

Elevator music is a type of background music that is commonly used in public places, such as shopping malls, hotels, and offices. The term can also be used to describe the type of music that is played in elevators.

Elevator music has come a long way since its inception in the early 1900s. The first elevator music was composed by Muzak, a company that specialized in creating background music for various businesses. The company would play records of classical and popular music in elevators to help customers relax while they shopped.

In the 1970s, Muzak began to experiment with other genres of music, including jazz and rock. However, it was not until the 1980s that elevator music truly began to evolve. This is when Muzak introduced its first ever original composition specifically for elevators: “Elevator to Heaven” by George Clinton.

Subsequently, other artists began creating elevator music, leading to the genre becoming more diverse. In recent years, we have seen the rise of dubstep elevator music, which has become increasingly popular due to its catchy beats and energetic sound.

Dubstep elevator music is just one example of how elevator music has evolved over the years. It is clear that this type of background music is here to stay and will continue to evolve as time goes on.

The decline of elevator music

Elevator music has come a long way since its inception in the early 20th century. Once a staple of waiting rooms and office buildings, elevator music has largely fallen out of favor in recent years, replaced by everything from silence to streaming Spotify playlist.

There are a number of factors that have contributed to the decline of elevator music. First and foremost, the advent of digital technology has made it easy for people to create their own soundtrack for their commute or workday, whether that’s using their own music library or streaming a service like Spotify or Pandora.

In addition, the rise of open-plan offices has made elevator music less practical, as the continuous looping of songs can be disruptive to work. And finally, the ubiquity of earbuds and headphones means that people are more likely to tune out their surroundings anyway, making background music less effective.

Despite all this, there are still some holdouts who appreciate the calming effect of elevator music, and there’s even been a recent resurgence in demand for traditional Muzak tracks. So while it may never reclaim its former glory, don’t be surprised if you still hear some elevator music the next time you ride up to your office.

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