Until now, the most democratic way to deal with the choice of office music has been to let people take turns. Given the likely variety of musical tastes in most offices, this means you’ll be happy for a short period each week and possibly wanting to cram cotton buds in your ears for the remainder. In an effort to come up with a better solution, the folks at Swedish company BREAKFAST have created a device designed to maintain musical democracy, while keeping everyone happy at the same time.
The Office Music Democratizer works with music recommendation sites Last.FM and Pandora, but extends their music ranking capabilities to a wall-mounted button device to allow anyone in the office to vote their approval or disapproval for a song. The wall-mounted unit features two large buttons – like and dislike – that light up and send a signal to a receiver when pressed. This receiver is connected to the computer pumping out the tunes from Last.FM or Pandora.
A vote in favor of the current song will help build a profile of office-approved songs, while a negative vote will stop the song in its tracks and move onto the next one. Of course this could initially result in more arguments as a person’s favorite song is promptly skipped on the opening bars, but as the tastes of the office are refined you’d expect such altercations to decrease. Though you might still have to watch out for the prankster who sits next to the Democratizer all day long voting for Billy Ray Cyrus.
The Office Music Democratizer isn’t available for sale, but maybe if the inventors at BREAKFAST get enough requests they’ll look into it.