Today, the most popular ice cream truck song in the country is a half-minute loop of “The Entertainer,” according to Mark Nichols of Nichols Electronics, the Minnesota company that makes most of the nation’s ice cream truck sound systems. His father started the firm in 1957 after inventing a transistorized replacement for the clockwork-style machine that used to be the norm.This video captures the same song our local truck plays - "The Entertainer" by Scott Joplin - which is a nice enough melody, but maddening enough under these circumstances to make me want to throw things at the truck.
“The technology has changed, but the songs have hardly changed at all in a century,” Nichols said. “They’re all old, all simple and all in the public domain. We go out of our way to avoid violating anybody’s copyright.”
Also echoing around American cul-de-sacs each summer, he said, are “Turkey in the Straw,” “Sailing, Sailing,” “Little Brown Jug” and “Camptown Races.”