Seeburg Mood Music 16 2/3 RPM Records
INFO ABOUT THEM...
The Seeburg 1000 phonograph
was introduced in
1959 as model BMS1.
 The system replaced
the Seeburg "Library Unit" which served the
same purpose, but played standard 45 rpm records. The Seeburg 1000 is
enclosed in a metal cabinet 22 inches (55 cm) wide by 14 inches (35 cm)
tall by 12 inches (30 cm) deep.
A later version called
the Seeburg Background Music Compact, model
BMC1, is housed in a windowless, blue and grey painted metal box. This
version contains only the record playing mechanism, without any
amplifier or timer built in.
The player is capable of
playing both sides of up to 28 records and
repeating the process indefinitely. The records are stacked on the
spindle with the first side to be played on the bottom of the stack. A
special tone arm with two needles, one above and one below, is used to
play both sides of each record.
A rotating baseplate
below the records prevents damage to the bottom
playing surface while restacking the records. A similar weight on top
of the stack ensures stable playback of the bottom side of the topmost
1959 Seeburg "Basic"
The Seeburg Background
Music record is a vinyl record of a non-standard
size of 9 inches (23 cm) diameter with a 2 inch (5 cm) center hole. The
recording is monaural, with a playing speed of 16⅔ rpm and a density of
420 grooves per inch. A 0.5 mil diamond stylus is used for
reproduction. Each side contains approximately 40 minutes of music,
typically 20 songs. Records in every series are numbered 1-28 or
101-128. These numbers tell you nothing except where the record was
supposed to go in a stack.
The records were
distributed quarterly in boxes of seven. The operator
was supposed to replace records in the system with new records of the
same number (i.e. MM-125). Each box is labeled with the library type,
date to place in service, and instructions to the operator. These
instructions also specify that each record is to be returned to Seeburg
after use. Upon return, the records were destroyed. A Basic library box
from 1971 states that the records are the property of Seeburg Music
Library, Inc., 1510 N. Dayton St, Chicago 22, Ill.
1969 Seeburg "Mood" Record
Seeburg provided three
different libraries of music with the Seeburg
1000 system: Basic, Mood and Industrial. These series names were
changed to Lifestyle, Penthouse, and Upbeat in the 1980s.
The Basic library
consisted of medium tempo music, culled from top 40
hits, show tunes and standards. The arrangements, created just for
Seeburg, were nearly all instrumental and featured horns, strings and
The Mood library
consisted of medium-slow tempo songs, in lush
arrangements with mostly stringed instruments. The music derived from
standards, show tunes and some pop music. The first song on each side
of each record was often a current pop hit.
The Industrial library
consisted of medium-fast tempo music of a lively
nature, to induce workers to be more productive. This was perhaps the
most varied and adventurous of the libraries; it contained polkas,
mariachi music, twangy guitar, Hawaiian songs, and even the occasional
A fraction of the records
were changed out every three months - on
April 1, July 1, October 1 and December 26. The number of records
changed at each three-month interval was five in 1963 but was seven
according to record boxes issued in 1966 and later. The first sets of
Seeburg 16 rpm records issued in 1959 had a five-pointed star in the
space later used for the "place-in-use" dates. This was superseded by a
notice which read "Replace No. 1", "Replace No. 5" etc. This meant
"Replacement Records - Set No. 1", "Set No. 5" etc. In 1961, this was
again superseded by the "place in use" dates which were in use through
the end of 1975. For the April 1, 1976 sets, the "place in use" dates
were replaced by a code: RR-66. This meant "replacement records - set
#66" and the number advanced with each subsequent set. As time went on,
the records were sent out less and less on schedule. The last sets were
sent out in 1986 and bore the code R-97.
The Christmas holiday
season required a special set of records. A box
of 25 Christmas records was issued to be played during the month of
December. This set consisted of Christmas music interspersed with
It was the job of the
machine operators to replace all Christmas music
with the standard fare on December 26. This job was a large undertaking
- in New York, "the entire service and installation force, and even the
office help, are pressed into service to still the sound of Christmas
past for another 11 months."