People listen to music for many different reasons. If all possible reasons are generalized into either the “Foreground” category or the “Background” category, this publication pertains entirely to the latter: background music.
Background music can often be at the forefront of a public experience. The paramount example is a nightclub. From the moment the public address audio system is switched on at 6 p.m. to the moment it shuts off at 4 a.m., the nightclub is broadcasting audio in the background.
A song might be foreground music when an artist is performing their own work on stage for a crowd who is here to see them. However this same material is background music when it is played at a nightclub.
Foreground music dictates what the listener must pay attention to, and when. In contrast, background music is chained to the passage of time, satisfying the directive of complementing every second of natural sound with music. In a nightclub, the background music is underscoring the guests’ primary experience at the bar, dancing with each other, or any other activity taking place in the nightclub.