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Posts Tagged ‘alternative rock

“The music was always in the background, like music at a church service; it was something to depend upon”*…

The Gap In-Store Playlists blog is the passion project of Mike Bise, a 56-year-old elementary school computer teacher and former Gap employee. Bise, who worked at Gap for 15 years, started the blog in 2015 on a quest to compile every in-store playlist from 1992 to 2006. In the nearly seven years since, he hasn’t let up. And with help from all corners of the country, his musical quest is now nearly three-quarters of the way complete…

I began working at the Gap at Highland Park Village in Dallas on October 17, 1992. Immediately, I was overwhelmed by the music played in the store during business hours. At the time, my main musical passions were the songs of Stevie Nicks and Kate Bush, as well as dance music played in clubs. Gap exposed me to a wide array of music such as House, Techno, Alternative Rock, Modern and Classic R&B, Acid Jazz, and so much more. From that very first day, I was captivated by all of this new music and wanted to purchase much of it for my own enjoyment at home, in the car, etc.

When I started at Gap, the music was on four-hour cassette tapes made by AEI Music. In an eight-hour shift, you would usually hear all of the songs twice a day. By March 1998, Gap had switched over to four-hour CDs for the music, still created by AEI. In April 1999, Gap began using Muzak as the company’s music service, again with four-hour CDs. Eventually, both AEI and Muzak would be acquired by Mood Media.

When each tape/CD arrived at the store each month, a paper playlist insert was included which listed all of the songs and artists on that month’s tape/CD. Most stores posted the playlists either at the cash wrap or in the backroom for employees who were interested in the songs as well as to be able to answer customers’ questions about the music.

New tapes usually arrived the last week of each month. While the old tapes and CDs were required to be mailed back to AEI back then, the playlists did not have to be sent back. Therefore, most playlists piled up in the backroom or were discarded. Because of my interest in the music on the tapes, I asked my manager at Highland Park Village if I could take each old playlist at the end of the month when the new tape arrived. Thus started my collecting of the Gap In-Store Playlists!

I collected almost every single playlist from the Gap brand from June 1992 to February 2006, as well as most GapKids and babyGap playlists from May 1998 to February 2006 and many GapBody playlists from 2000 to 2004. I stored the playlists in a small cardboard box that was once used in visual displays at Gap in 1995. I would buy CDs with the songs I wanted, plus buying individual songs form iTunes starting in June 2005, while ever-so-slowly putting together playlists on my computer. In the back of my mind, I planned to recreate all of the playlists on my iMac. I wasn’t just interested in single songs but the playlists as whole entities.

Shortly after I left Gap in February 2006, I lost the box that contained all of the playlists during a move. It was devastating to realize that all of the playlists were gone forever. Eventually, I began my Gap Playlists blog in the hopes of attracting others who also saved the playlists from when they worked at Gap. Although I have recovered dozens of playlists thanks to the blog, there are still many more to go to reach my goal of re-obtaining the playlists that I lost.

If you worked at Gap and saved any of the paper playlists that came with each month’s CD/tape, please share them with me. Contact me at: michaelbise@msn.com…

Retail refrains: “Gap In-Store Playlists,” from @GapPlaylists.

See also “The Guy Collecting Every Gap Store Playlist Ever Made,” @WeAreMel, from whence the photo above.

* Joyce Carol Oates

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As we hum along, we might recall that it was on this date in 2009 that the Tennessee State Legislature voted to names a stretch of Getwell Road in Shelby County (running from the Mississippi state line to Interstate 240) as the Jerry Lee Lewis Highway.

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