Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Seeking Gap In-Store Playlists 1992 to 2006

 


The chronicling of my journey to re-obtain all of the Gap In-Store Playlists from 1992 through 2006 requires just a little bit of backstory.  I began working at the Gap at Highland Park Village in Dallas on October 17, 1992. Immediately, I was overwhelmed by the music played in the store during business hours. At the time, my main musical passions were the songs of Stevie Nicks and Kate Bush, as well as dance music played in clubs.  Gap exposed me to a wide array of music such as House, Techno, Alternative Rock, Modern and Classic R&B, Acid Jazz, and so much more.  From that very first day, I was captivated by all of this new music and wanted to purchase much of it for my own enjoyment at home, in the car, etc.

When I started at Gap, the music was on four-hour cassette tapes made by AEI Music. In an eight-hour shift, you would usually hear all of the songs twice a day. By March 1998, Gap had switched over to four-hour CDs for the music, still created by AEI.  In April 1999, Gap began using Muzak as the company’s music service, again with four-hour CDs.  Eventually, both AEI and Muzak would be acquired by Mood Media.

When each tape/CD arrived at the store each month, a paper playlist insert was included which listed all of the songs and artists on that month’s tape/CD. Most stores posted the playlists either at the cash wrap or in the backroom for employees who were interested in the songs as well as to be able to answer customers’ questions about the music.

New tapes usually arrived the last week of each month. While the old tapes and CDs were required to be mailed back to AEI back then, the playlists did not have to be sent back.  Therefore, most playlists piled up in the backroom or were discarded. Because of my interest in the music on the tapes, I asked my manager at Highland Park Village if I could take each old playlist at the end of the month when the new tape arrived. Thus started my collecting of the Gap In-Store Playlists!

I collected almost every single playlist from the Gap brand from June 1992 to February 2006, as well as most GapKids and babyGap playlists from May 1998 to February 2006 and many GapBody playlists from 2000 to 2004. I stored the playlists in a small cardboard box that was once used in visual displays at Gap in 1995.  I would buy CDs with the songs I wanted, plus buying individual songs from iTunes starting in June 2005, while ever-so-slowly putting together playlists on my computer.  In the back of my mind, I planned to recreate all of the playlists on my iMac.  I wasn’t just interested in single songs but the playlists as whole entities.

In February 2006, I left Gap to take care of a family member in another city, which eventually spun me off into a completely different career. I loved my years at Gap and still remember them fondly. I still only wear Gap clothing to this day.  My blood is Gap Blue.

Shortly after I left Gap in February 2006, I lost the box that contained all of the playlists during a move.  It was devastating to realize that all of the playlists were gone forever. Eventually, I began my Gap Playlists blog in the hopes of attracting others who also saved the playlists from when they worked at Gap. Although I have recovered dozens of playlists thanks to the blog, there are still many more to go to reach my goal of re-obtaining the playlists that I lost.

If you worked at Gap and saved any of the paper playlists that came with each month's CD/tape, please share them with me. Contact me at:
michaelbise@msn.com

Gap has been completely supportive and extremely helpful to me in my quest these last several years.  Thank you very much, Gap!


July 1998 Gap In-Store Playlist



















Several of the Gap in-store tapes and CDs
can be listened to at the Internet Archive:



Over 100 Gap, GapBody, GapKids, and babyGap playlists
are on Spotify:

If you worked at Gap and saved any of the playlists that came with each month's CD/tape,
please contact me at:
michaelbise@msn.com

29 comments:

  1. My man! Do you have Spotify playlists I can follow?!

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    1. There is this one. If you do some searches in Spotify you can find playlists that others have entered themselves.
      https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1hcrmZVm7yxqieMooxW0wS?si=88066b2f62b14671

      I'm loving these playlists too! I know what I'm playing at my next brunch!

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    2. Thank you thank you!!!

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    3. Over 100 Gap playlists are on my Spotify:
      https://open.spotify.com/user/mikebise?si=6751fbf55cae4f39

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    4. what about Apple Music? ;)

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    5. Apple Music has even fewer of the rare mixes that were usually on Gap playlists. If I did playlists there, they would be even skimpier.

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  2. Please please make a YouTube channel for this. I want to listen to the good times. I worked for Gap circa 200-2004 on and off and have some great memories.

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    Replies
    1. You need to start a you tube channel !!!

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    2. I will be getting around to full playlists on YouTube soon!

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  3. Found this through NPR and it’s right in my wheelhouse…these playlists are (and this blog is) great.

    If these playlists are eventually ALSO put on Apple Music too, I wouldn’t be against it. 😃

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  4. Found your blog and story through NPR today as well, Mike! Love the playlists but love your commitment to making these live on - thanks!

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  5. I read and heard your story on NPR. I agree with how much music impacts our lives. About 6 or 7 years ago, I was in an Old Navy (Gap affiliate), and some music came on that stopped me in my tracks. I could not focus on anything else. I fumbled for my phone to immediately Soundhounded who it was. The music I was hearing was from the British artist named Omar. The song that was playing was called "Simplify." I was blown away. I have since bought a lot of his music. If you don't know him, you should. Beautiful artist, and great music.
    I love the Gap playlists you have collected and would love to be able to follow that music through Spotify. You would have lots of fans.

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  6. My husband worked for The Gap from 1985-1993. He fondly remembers the entire staff anxiously awaiting the new tapes. If anyone has info on those years, we’d love to see those lists, too!

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  7. Ahhhh … the nostalgia! I have a lump in my throat. I was at the Gap/Gap Kids 1992 - 1995 a just scrolling through brings me back. We all had favorites and there was something going on with our store manager going rogue and playing old favorite playlists in VIOLATION. 😂 Not sure how she did THAT! When they fired her I don’t think that was noted as a reason. 🤷🏼‍♀️

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  8. Thanks for much for this! There is some good stuff here! I was in a musical desert trying to find new stuff to listen to and being so bored and disillusioned by the crap out there. I've resorted to listening to classical/talk radio so I don't get annoyed by juvenile lyrics and overly botoxed music. When they played your song pick remix it brought me back to a better time. Now to explore!

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  9. I worked at the GAP from July 1990 - 1994. Brought a smile to see some of these playlists- thanks for compiling these! The one that always stuck in my mind was “Put the Message in the Box” from World Party. I remember there was a bunch of Squeeze (Pulling Mussels from the Shell comes to mind) and the Police (Walking on the Moon) songs on there as well in the very early 90s.

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  10. I’ve been having a love affair with the 90s forever so seeing this blog brought me to tears!! I MUST have those playlists!! We were so fortunate to have had wonderful, amazing, REAL music back then instead of this auto tuned trash/crap kids listen to today. I remember shopping at the Gap all the time and if you weren’t wearing Gap stuff…well you were out of style. Lol.

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  11. Used to work at the Gap from 93-97. We would always “forget” to send back the best cassettes. There was one from even before I started (1991) that we’d play every so often.
    The Christmas ones somehow always went back ASAP. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

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  12. I worked at Gap in South Florida 1989-91… reflecting, I stayed bc of the soundtracks! Thank you so much for researching and sharing!

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  13. You are an absolute legend! Thank you for cataloging and adding these playlists to Spotify. I cannot wait to dig in!

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  14. I worked at the Gap for many years and they play lists were the BEST! This is amazing that you are doing this!

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  15. I worked for The Gap 1991 - 1999 in King of Prussia, PA. This was my first job and where I grew up and discovered the soundtrack of my youth! This is amazing and brings back so many memories. As I look at these playlists I can hear the next song before reading it! Thanks for this. Many hours to curate Spotify playlists in the future days ahead.

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  16. You are a legend!
    My master playlist of Gap Favs from 04-08 got swallowed many years ago in an iTunes update. I had found your quest a few years ago and cobbled together some of my own.
    There was nothing like the anticipation of knowing your song was coming up in a couple tracks… I still remember the exact order of some of them!
    Your labor of love is valued :-)

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  17. This is amazing! I worked at the GAP from 91 thru 99 and then seasonally for many years into the 2000's. Getting the new tape was always the much anticipated highlight of the month for me. These playlists bring back so many great memories of my time there and the wonderful friendships I made along the way. Thank you so much for this!

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  18. So many memories! I worked at Banana Republic in Massachusetts 1995-1996. Similar to you, the music was always fascinating and I still listen to a lot of the songs from those soundtracks. Whenever I fold clothes, the music still plays in the back of my head. Thank you!!

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  19. This is awesome! I have a tape from the late 80s that a friend of mine who worked at the Gap gave me. It’s full of great alternative music. I thought it was lost, but I found it again after o read the NPR article. If I get the artists and songs written down is this something you would add to your database?

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    1. Yes, that would be cool! Please email me at:
      michaelbise@msn.com

      Thanks!

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    2. Will do! Thank you.

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