Gap store playlists

Background music is more important in your life than you think. Think about it. How much time during your everyday life do you just absorb sounds without thinking about them? And how much of that noise is specifically manufactured? Meaning, you didn’t choose it and it’s not incidental, somebody chose it for you.

In fact, these background noises are heavily researched, for things like building work productivity and encouraging certain shopping behaviors.

Of course, all these effects are for subconscious effects and the conscious effect of the music is mostly irrelevant. Unless you happen to pay attention.

And for 14 years, Mike Bise did. From 1992 to 2006, Bise worked for Gap and every single month the company would send each of its stores a four hour long CD or tape (depending on what year we’re talking about) to play in the store that month. On a loop.

This is an example of the playlists from Gap (May 2005)
This is an example of the playlists from Gap (May 2005)

In 2006, he lost the playlists. And this is when the journey really took off. It became a quest to recover those playlists. In the meantime, he reconstructs as many of them as he can from memory. All of this takes place on a site he created to document both the playlists and his journey.

And thus, Bise obsessively catalogues that part of his life, even connecting along the way with other people who have shared similar experiences, and in doing so, celebrating the store and the era.


That’s really not the point.

You can check out the website here.




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