Mark Davis, an ex-employee of Kmart who worked behind the Service Desk in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, has shared with the world his bizarre collection of Kmart in-store music. Every month, the Kmart corporate office issued a cassette to be played over the store speaker system, tapes which include both what Davis calls “canned elevator-type music” and mainstream pop songs.
The cassettes were supposed to be thrown away, but Davis was not the wasteful type, slipping each tape into his apron pocket instead. Davis got into the habit of bringing home the tapes, thinking “someday it would be kinda interesting.” His collection ended in 1993, when background music began being streamed in via satellite service.
Nearly 20 years on, Davis’ day has finally come. He has digitized his 56 cassette collection, and has made the recordings available at archive.org under the title: Attention Kmart Shoppers accompanied by some more background information on this unusual collection.
When it comes to Kmart music trivia, Davis really knows his shit – he knows all the information and answers to the questions you may have about these tapes. He says that “the older tapes contain canned elevator music with instrumental renditions of songs. Then, the songs became completely mainstream around 1991. All of them have advertisements every few songs.”
For a weird and wonderful taste, check out the start of this collection with the mesmerising sounds of October 1989.