In Los Angeles, you never know when Sergio Flores, a.k.a. “Sexy Sax Man,” is going to strike with a “Saxagram”… whether someone ordered one or not! From outdoor malls to laundromats, his calling card is the saxophone riff from the classic 1984 pop ballad “Careless Whisper” by Wham!
His persona nods to the ubiquity of saxophone in 1980’s pop, but it more specifically references the oiled-up, Fabio-ed lead singer/saxophonist in the carnival scene from the 1987 movie The Lost Boys AND a parody of that musician in the 2010 Saturday Night Live digital short, “The Curse.”
Although Sergio’s looping of the “Careless Whisper” riff could ostensibly fall under the category of parody within the “Fair Use” exception to U.S. copyright law, the fact remains that it is music competing with the overhead music used to drive sales in commercial spaces. No matter how fitting the choices a Music Designer makes for her or his programs, unforeseen interferences pose a threat to the efficacy of branded sound on a daily basis. Complications far more routine than musical pranks include muddy acoustics, devices mistakenly set to a low volume level, and faulty wiring in sound systems.
Mood’s stellar Customer Service team is trained to troubleshoot equipment problems, but that process only begins when a client’s employees notice that something is wrong–usually when the music cuts out altogether, a song repeats over and over, or the noise from static becomes unbearable. Otherwise, it may not register that the music is not working for the brand at an optimum level of performance. This is where visits and phone calls to sites by Music Designers become pivotal–these comprise the ethnographic component necessary for understanding how a program actually “sounds” (as a verb) within the space itself. Easy fixes like moving a device to a different location in a store, or simply adjusting the volume slightly, could pay dividends, and it is a responsibility of Designers to proactively seek out such opportunities for fine tuning in order to ensure that their time-intensive creations have the greatest impact.
– Submitted by Amy Frishkey, Music Design