This introductory chapter discusses composer John Cage's views about Muzak and his interest in the work of French composer Erik Satie. Muzak is a company that provides functional music as a tool of management in environmental situations. The term has nonetheless a double entendre: muzak (lower case) refers to the genre of background music in general, while Muzak (with a capital) refers specifically to the trademarked product. For Cage, Muzak's discourse clarified the stakes of a competition in which both the arts and the products of industry were engaged. His comparative evaluation of furniture music and muzak may have stressed the possibility of separating one from the other, but by the same token it also indicated that they share a parallel if irreconcilable ambition.
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