Jukebox Social Engineering

The other night I ate dinner at our local pub
Fox and Hounds
, close enough to walk to for when one might have a couple. I like the food, I like the proximity but mostly I go there to dominate the jukebox. I didn’t play
it this time, but sometimes I play a social engineering jukebox game that a friend and I inadvertantly invented there one night. I call it “What is this shit?”.

Here’s how you play. Take a seat where you have an unobstructed view of the jukebox and get comfy, order a drink. Take a reasonable amount of money with you to the jukebox and pick a lot of songs, 10 would be the bare minimum but more is better. The goal of the game is to alter the energy of the room in a way that is bothersome to the patrons. The way this is measured is by the number of people who put money into the
jukebox during the time period your songs are playing. For bonus points, you can watch a while and try to establish the baseline before you start. The nature of the alteration isn’t always the same, so you need to get a feel for the zeitgeist in the place before you start. If it is a good time, frat boy, couples on dates crowd I play a lot of slow downer songs. They have Jeff Buckley’s Grace, so his version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is good for that. Alternately, if it is a dour Goth type crowd, I go for lots of peppy powerpop, “My Sharona” and “Walking on Sunshine”, etc. It can be really fun, if you are in a mood to screw with people. The game could be played in the reverse, where the metric is the number of people you see singing along/tapping feet/dancing. The fun part to me is to use the jukebox to control the general feeling of the place.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.