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Thread: Downtown music

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michiganplanner's avatar
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    Downtown music

    Curious to know if anybody has experienced music in a downtown. It is generally played via a PA system or from speakers mounted on light poles.

    What music was played?
    Was it only during the festive periods?
    Who decides what is played?

    For anybody who has been in a downtown with music - what did you think?

    I know there are licensing requirements, but please leave those thoughts out the repsonses as it will be handled.
    I'd be more apathetic if I weren't so lethargic.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian cellophane's avatar
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    does DEMF count? gianormous sound systems in hart plaza - although come to think of it you cant really hear much of it once you are a block or two away...

  3. #3
    Cyburbian michiganplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by cellophane View post
    does DEMF count? gianormous sound systems in hart plaza - although come to think of it you cant really hear much of it once you are a block or two away...
    Not really speaking of special events or concerts per se. I do know what you are talking about though.
    I'd be more apathetic if I weren't so lethargic.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Downtown Silver Spring, MD, has music coming over a PA-type system. Sometimes, as you're walking along, it's a little strange to hear the music, but it just kind of fades into the noise of the people in the revitalized shopping area there. I spend a lot of time in that area and have found it to neither add nor subtract from the experience of spending time in our little pedestrian area, with the small exception that it's kind of strange when it's on and you're walking through a breezeway from a parking garage to the main plaza area - if it's a kind of quiet day, the music seems a little loud, and if you've not been to the plaza before, you're probably a little confused about where the music is coming from. They also have, in that same breezeway, TVs that play random things - I don't believe the images on the TV are synced to the music.

    I've never heard it play anything other than Muzak type stuff, and it's not the kind of Muzak that seems to have been generated from popular songs.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Richi's avatar
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    We have a "Downtown Getdown" many Friday nights. The music that is played then is live. Also going on are food booths, etc. A couple of blocks are closed to traffic after 6:00 pm. Typically the getdowns are themed...football game next day, Springtime Tallahassee, etc. No canned music, ever.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    During the summer there is a different band that plays at Detroit's Campus Martius every day of the week starting at lunch. The music varies every day from a wide range, everything from Chamber Music to Rap. The music starts as soon as they take down the ice rink and stays around through November. From November to March its typically piped in though when the rink is open. It is a nice diversion and sets us apart from most cities. Besides DEMF there are other music festivals that take place downtown. Its pretty much a normal thing as bands not only have good facilities at Campus Martius, Hart Plaza, but also several other outdoor venues including the Riverwalk. Outside my office there is typically a lone street musician playing something.

    We don't need no stinking street speakers, we're Detroit dammit!
    Last edited by DetroitPlanner; 01 Apr 2009 at 3:11 PM.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  7. #7
    I remmber years ago walking through some bleak concrete plaza with canned music playing. It was creepy, like I was in a horror flick and suddenly a monster was going to jump out at me. Why would anyone want to spend money doing this?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    My town plays oldies music over loudspeakers. I can't say that it enhances my downtown experience; it's even annoying when you pass under one of the speakers.

  9. #9
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    Downtown Dallas: West End Light Rail Station

    the west end light rail station sits near a bus transit center and sees tons of pedestrian traffic and riders throughout the day. I noticed they play classical music. I often thought it was to "calm" the somewhat 'roudy' crowds that can gather. The West End area/district is no longer the very popular distination as it once was before but due to the public transportation piece added to the area there is high pedestrian traffic. You'll find some restaurants and office space even a community college nearby. Although, I'm not certain who decides the music but I would assume DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) is involved. and yes it is played over PA system, in that one city block (train station) and from what i gather it is daily but not sure when it stops. I like the effect on the area. I don't particularly listen to classical music regularly but enjoy it just the same. Hope this helps.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dlcruze View post
    the west end light rail station sits near a bus transit center and sees tons of pedestrian traffic and riders throughout the day. I noticed they play classical music. I often thought it was to "calm" the somewhat 'roudy' crowds that can gather. The West End area/district is no longer the very popular distination as it once was before but due to the public transportation piece added to the area there is high pedestrian traffic. You'll find some restaurants and office space even a community college nearby. Although, I'm not certain who decides the music but I would assume DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) is involved. and yes it is played over PA system, in that one city block (train station) and from what i gather it is daily but not sure when it stops. I like the effect on the area. I don't particularly listen to classical music regularly but enjoy it just the same. Hope this helps.
    I honestly believe that the use of classical is based on a much more simple, practical reason - it helps keep the criminal element/gangs (especially those who tend to prefer hard/vulgar rap) away and thus makes the station area more inviting for those who the transit agency wants to be there.

    Anyways, I recall that the City of Appleton played Christmas music from speakers mounted on a no-longer-existing downtown water tower back in the 1980s. It wasn't overpowering and did add a bit of a mood to the season.

    Mike

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Installing PA systems to pipe in music was a 1970's fad to compete with the malls during a time when downtown businesses were all relocating. It was part of the "be like the mall" phase when we closed streets, removed parking, and updated the build landscape in ways that we soon came to regret. Music was not damaging, but most of the loudspeaker systems I occassionally encounter have not functioned in decades. Once in a while I do find one that works.Most are used only during the holidays to tormet people with that horrible christmas music.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  12. #12
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    Alright, this might be the corniest suggestion you get... but in Anaheim, Downtown Disney is seemingly always playing music. And what's more is that they have hotel rooms flanking the entire area. Considering how neurotic Disney can be, I bet if you called them they could tell you the exact decibel level at which no one complains, what's the best time to switch it off AND what songs have been deemed appropriate outside of cartoon music.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Check with the Cities of Stockton and Vallejo here in California, specifically either planning or RDAs. They have installed such systems in their waterfronts/downtown areas for a) ambiance, and b) detour crime. It was of the classical variety and played mainly during early evenings and nights. The music annoyed the teenagers and other whippersnappers who tended to loiter.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    I'm more of a fan of live music myself...have you thought about creating more of a live music scene, rather than just playing recorded music over a PA system? Or maybe encouraging more live music venues to established there? I know it would probably be more expensive, but also more legit and long-lasting.

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