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Inside the Offices Where the Music Never Stops and Everyone Is DJ

Fun company culture, or workplace hell?
Animation: 731; Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

The speakers never stop pumping music throughout the office at Codeword, a public relations agency in Manhattan. All day. Every day. Any song by any artist can play for the entire office at any time. In theory, at least, death metal, Gregorian chants, or Enya can fill the office before the 40 employees have finished their coffee.

Everyone is also empowered to skip a disliked song by using the app that controls the office's Sonos speaker system. The rule—"Claim your song skipping," meaning the person who vetoes a song should publicly acknowledge doing so—is stipulated in Codeword's "10 Commandments of Sonos," which are printed on a poster that hangs on a wall in the corner. The sixth and seventh commandments encourage "deep cuts" and introducing colleagues to "weird music," while the eighth cautions against taking things too far: "Extreme genres," the poster warns, "might not last long."