Chapter 11'd Muzak formally announces it is in the game

February 17, 2009 by Dave Haynes

Just days after on-premise music company Muzak announced it was going Chapter 11 to deal with a $370 million pile of debt, and after no shortage of blog noise about the demise of piped music and the future of that South Carolina-based company, Muzak has let it be known it will have a presence on the DSE exhibition floor next week, showing off its new digital signage solution.

Now THERE is a challenge, selling that solution when just about everybody straying into the booth will know Muzak’s shiny new kit of parts was built and is running off a seriously maxed-out credit card.

Would you sign a two-year service agreement with that big black storm cell boiling overhead? I’m not suggesting someone should or shouldn’t, but such doubts will inevitably creep into the vendor selection process.

Muzak has been kicking around this turf for a while now. They had a staff guy and some consultants wandering around DSE last year, and had a booth at GlobalShop 2008. But DSE appears to be the debut for what is called Visual Solutions.

From the press release:

By leveraging well-established national distribution capabilities and “best-in-class” partners, Muzak will deliver compelling, affordable visual merchandising solutions to clients of any size throughout the US. Visual Solutions will be offered to Muzak clients as part of the brand’s comprehensive media suite or tailored as a custom content service, allowing clients to fully control their branding, messaging and customer programs.

“Digital signage is rapidly developing into a major new industry, with merchandising experts indicating a continuing upward trend in usage,” said Joe Hall, Muzak’s Marketing Manager for Visual Solutions. “Our new digital signage offering significantly enhances sensory in-store experiences. Though only introduced in limited client pilots to date, it is already benefiting our clients brand image across many sectors, resulting in reductions in customers’ perceived wait time as well as increases in point-of-purchase sales.”

“We continue to invest in Muzak’s future by identifying and creating business solutions that expand our client services portfolio while also enhancing the strength and diversity our product offering,” said Stephen P. Villa, Chief Executive Officer of Muzak. “As always, we remain committed to providing our clients with the most innovative and advanced products, paired with the highest level of customer service. Visual Solutions is another example of how Muzak is positioning itself as the leader in all aspects of in-store experiences.”

Muzak has a pile of clients and a long history, and facilitating music and video off the same hardware and software platform just makes sense in a whole bunch of ways. But there are a number of companies going after that line of business now, certainly without the debt baggage and quite probably less saddled with legacy systems and client history that may be good or bad. 

Disclosure: Well, sort of. My guys don't market a pure play or even hybrid video/audio solution, so we're not really doing the same thing. I have some clients who use us to do that sort of thing, though, but not as a packaged-up offer.  


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