Who picks the music you hear at the mall? This guy.

Spencer Manio in front of his office (his door is the one with the Ghostface poster) at PlayNetwork.

From NPR:

What is the right music to use in an ad? Where do these tunes come from? These questions require a middle person for answers. Someone with their finger on the pulse.

Spencer Manio is a 39-year-old Seattleite who works in that go-between role. In 2010 he put Oakland blog darlings tUnE-yArDs in a BlackBerry commercial. Back then the band was relatively unknown. Fast forward two years later and tUnE-yArDs is a critically agreed-upon Great Band. How many people first heard them in that commercial?

Manio’s job is being that guy Don Draper needed, full time, at Redmond, Wash., company PlayNetwork, and as a freelancer for BlackBerry and Nordstrom. He finds music and uses it to create specific vibes or feels for companies. Sometimes he does it by placing songs in commercials. Mainly he goes through ceiling speakers in retail stores. He’s a professional playlist maker.

“You become invested in knowing that the music represents all these things that you don’t see on a retail level, but rather the whole company, their culture. At that point you stop programming for the customer and program for the brand.”

Continue reading the rest of the story on NPR