About Us

About Pipedown Australia

"Piped water, piped electricity, piped gas - but never piped music." (Pipedown supporter, Stephen Fry)


Pipedown Australia works for a quieter Australia, especially in reducing unnecessary background music in public spaces such as shopping centres, supermarkets, restaurants, cafes, public offices and transport hubs. Our mission is to improve the quality of public. experiences by promoting quieter spaces for all community members affected by loud background music including those with hearing deficits, autism, and ADHD. Silence can sometimes be a beautiful thing. 



Did you know?

  • THAT unwanted and inescapable piped music has an adverse effect on human health? Like all unwanted noise, it RAISES the blood pressure and DEPRESSES the immune system. It also causes problems for the millions of people with hearing problems – 16% of the population according to official figures.
  • THAT more people hate piped background music than like it, according to impartial opinion polls? (34% dislike it, only 30% like it, the rest are indifferent.)
  • THAT despite all the hype about differing types of music affecting people’s shopping habits, there is no genuine evidence to show that such music increases sales by one penny. 



PIPED MUSIC - THE FACTS


The truth is that more people hate piped music than like it! 


The Sunday Times (UK) quoted 17% said it was the single thing they most detested about modern life.


NOP Opinion Poll

43% said they disliked it.

34% said they liked it.

23% had no opinion.


BBC Poll 67% hated piped music on trains.


In April 1994, Gatwick Airport Management carried out a survey of traveller's attitude to piped music being played at the airport. of the 68,077 who replied, 43% said they disliked it, 34% liked it and remainder had no opinion. Gatwicjk has since discontinued its piped music.



HOW PIPED MUSIC AFFECTS HEALTH


Fact. All unwanted noise raises the blood pressure and depresses the immune system.


Fact. The NOP poll of 1998 found among people with hearing problems (16% of the population) 86% hate piped music.


Fact. People with autism, ME, tinnitus, asperger syndrome and hyperacusis find piped music can trigger or aggravate their condition. 


Fact. Blind people (who rely on background sounds to find their way around) find piped music distracting and upsetting. 


Fact. Recent research (2013) found that older people actually hear background music louder than young people because of natural aged hearing impairment.


Fact. Musicians of all sorts hate piped music because they find 'acoustic wallpaper' a pain in the ear (and other places).


Fact. Music teachers have a challenge to get students to actually listen to music - because it now comes at them non-stop from everywhere (and it's not always good music).


Fact. Piped music does not come free, but is an extra expense that must be paid for with every meal, coffee, drink, ticket or whatever.... someone has to pay for it!


Fact. Despite all the hype about piped music boosting sales, making workers more successful etc many highly successful companies have no music.


Fact. Piped music is one of the most hated aspects of hotels today, new survey finds..  

‘The omnipresent curse of annoying muzak’ is the fourth most commonly hated aspect of hotels today, reports The Good Hotel Guide in its just published 2018 edition.  (Poor Wifi reception, dim lighting in bedrooms and  ‘captive’ coat hangers were the first three most hated things in modern hotels.) The Good Hotel Guide,  one of the few such guides to remain wholly independent and impartial, gives full details about the piped music – or lack of – in each hotel reviewed.


Fact.  The Good Pub Guide calls for a ban on piped music in pubs.

The Good Pub Guide, long the definitive guide to pubs up and down the UK, is calling for a ban on piped music in pubs in its new 2017 edition. It declares that  ‘piped music, canned music, muzak, lift music, airport music – call it what you will, it’s there and our readers loathe it in any shape or form. It enlists bitter complaints from our readers and has done so ever since we started the Guide 35 years ago. It’s such an issue that we have always asked every main entry pub since 1983 whether or not they have it, and then clearly state this in each review.’

A world without background music.

Firstly, we are not anti music, in fact, Pipedown Australia was established by prolific record producer and performer, Warren Fahey AM, because he believes unnecessary music, especially piped background music, totally devalues music and, for many Australians, has an ill-effect on health. The continual broadcast of recorded music, mostly installed to encourage shopping or to create a false ambience, insults the music creator and encourages the consumer to consider music as an anonymous and rather worthless creation. 


Food for Thought


Many years ago I toured Australia with the internationally renowned songwriters and singers, Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger. Their song credits include the Grammy-winning 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face', 'Dirty Old Town' and 'Shoals of Herring'. We were staying in a rather nice hotel in Adelaide and were breakfasting. The muzak was driving us crazy - inane music along with our muesli and coffee. Peggy, never one to shy away from action, fronted the manager and politely asked if the music could be turned down. The manager responded curtly that "some people like the music." Peggy pulled out a notepad and went to every table and asked if they liked the music. 100% response in the negative. The music was turned off! (Warren Fahey.)


We have been conditioned to listen to piped music. Most folks say they simply don't hear it - but they do because it is omnipresent if you go to the bank, shopping centre, grocers, chemist, coffee shop and most restaurants. Operators probably think they are doing us a favour but the opposite is true. It is no different from 'music on hold' and aimed at pacifying the listener. Thankfully some businesses are now offering a no music on hold option. WF



Hang on, Hang on....


Music of hold can be another source of audio torture, especially when waiting time is delayed. Many businesses use these silly systems however, more and more are asking "If you do not wish to music on hold please hit the pound button."


GoDaddy, the website builder used on this site, thankfully, gives a no music option.

We are not alone

Supporting Voices


“Ah,the delights of deafness! I can censor all those shitty (piped music) sounds simply by tugging out my hearing aids”
Phillip Adams AO, Broadcaster, Writer & Thinker.


Resources


The Quiet Coalition

Organization consisting of science and health professionals addressing the impact of noise on our health, learning, and productivity.

U.K. Pipedown

Organization dedicated to removing piped music (unwanted and intrusive background music) in public places. Successfully persuaded Gatwick Airport, Sainsbury (supermarket company), and Tesco (retail company) to drop music in their branches. Maintains over a few thousand members with many endorsements from famous celebrities.

Quiet Scotland

Organization dedicated to removing piped music (unwanted and intrusive background music) in public places. Includes quiet eating, drinking, and shopping places in Scotland as well as links to research on the effects of piped music.

Quiet Ann Arbor. 

Established in 2017 to create sanctuaries from background music. 

Better Hearing Australia

National organisation promoting better hearing  and resources. https://www.betterhearingaustralia.org.au

Tinnitus Australia 

National organisation for tinnitus awareness. www.tinnitus.asn.au

Shhhaustralia 

Official website for self help for people with hearing loss. A hearing impairment can be very frustrating – not only to the individual, but to partners and family, friends, carers and workmates.

There is so much that can be done, however, to help people manage hearing loss.

With modern technology, good communication strategies and developed coping skills, so much more can be done to make life easier and more enjoyable.

Self Help for Hard of Hearing People (SHHH) is made up of many volunteers, mainly themselves hearing impaired, who are able to help others with the knowledge and experience they have acquired.

www.shhhaust.org


Services

Turn it down.....please

Thank you Muzak - for nothing!


The history of Muzac dates back to the 1910s when the American inventor George Squier developed technology to deliver music through the electricity network of Staten Island. In 1922, the rights to Squier's patents were acquired by the North American Company who cranked up distribution and added music to consumer's electricity bills. By the 30s popularity of free radio resulted in the company looking at other ways to sell music through commercial avenues. Squiers, still involved in the company, apparently modelled the name 'Muzac' on Kodak, by replacing a few letters... and Muzac was officially born. According to the Wikipedia entry.. 'The company began customizing the pace and style of the music provided throughout the workday in an effort to maintain productivity. The music was programmed in 15-minute blocks, gradually getting faster in tempo and louder and brassier in instrumentation, to encourage workers to speed up their pace. Following the completion of a 15-minute segment, the music would fall silent for 15 minutes. This was partly done for technical reasons, but company-funded research also showed that alternating music with silence limited listener fatigue, and made the "stimulus" effect of Stimulus Progression more effective.'


This claim of work stimulus has since been challenged and, thankfully, many companies abandoned in-house music which, many claim, had the reverse affect on workers. (Wikipedia continues) 'A growing awareness among the public that Muzak was targeted to manipulate behavior resulted in a backlash, including accusations of being a brainwashing technique and court challenges in the 1950s. However, the popularity of Muzak remained high through the mid-1960s. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the first president to pump Muzak into the West Wing, and Lyndon B. Johnson owned the Muzak franchise in Austin, Texas. NASA reportedly used Muzak in many of its space missions to soothe astronauts and occupy periods of inactivity'. Imagine being captive in a spaceship with endless piped music! Yikes!


As Muzak infiltrated the world, mainly through franchised operators, it became synonymous with 'elevator music' despite the company producing its own recordings. To many it was, and is, boring music, infiltrating our lives. 


The company has seen several owners and a bankruptcy in 2017 yet it still plows on with 'mood' music and 'music on hold' and other digital services, despite a growing opposition (that's us!). 


When did music become so devalued?


Music is one of life's great joys, however, as we know, there are many different musical expressions. They are all legitimate even if you dislike certain genres. Today, musical taste is nurtured by all manner of exposure be it by family, friends, live performance or encounters on the media and internet. It is healthy to broaden your musical horizons and, as we know, music can improve one's health. we also know the volume of broadcasting music can be injurious to health. Many young people, brought up with far too loud music on headphones or at dances with mega speakers, have regretted hearing injury in later life. 


We all know that piped music typically equals boring music however that is only one aspect of its insidiousness - the real objection is that it is everywhere, too loud and inescapable....unless WE do something to turn it off or pipe it down.  



Quiet places

Help us identify quiet places in Australia.

We're new here so please send us your recommendations. If you have public areas where background music is excessive please contact us and well try to get them to pipe down.


Aldi Stores nationwide.


Coles Supermarkets have designated between one hour every week as 'quiet time' as music and announcement-free zones. 68 key stores will host the service.


Submit decibel data

Here's how YOU can help.


SoundPrint (Yelp for noise) is a free iPhone App where you can find venues depending on their loudness. SoundPrint has a decibel meter, which you can use to quickly measure the sound level of a venue and submit to the database. 

We’ve teamed up with SoundPrint to find quiet spaces in our local area. Please help the community find quiet spots by making at least 5 decibel submissions at a restaurant, bar, or coffee shop.

What if I don’t have an iPhone and want to participate? If you have an Android, use the free “Sound Meter” app from Google Play Store. Write down the decibel level, time, and venue and email it to Pipedown Austrlia.



List of Pipe Music Offenders


(send us your list and we' will add them to ours). 



Hospitals and Medical Centres


One would think health-related centres would know better - but they are amongst the worst offenders. Apparently conned by the belief wallpaper music is soothing, when the opposite is fact, they blunder on and on. Our British counterpart is currently challenging hospitals across the UK and is prepared to take the battle to the highest level of Government. Locally, we would be interested in your reports documenting offenders and quiet centres and we want info on major and private hospitals, day clinics, medical centres, surgeries, eye clinics, yoga and osteo centres.... we even have reports of hearing clinics having piped music!