The Custom Channels Blog

How To Decide What Music To Play In Your Business

Posted by John on October 15th, 2012

You’re a business owner. Let’s say you run a boutique retail store, a trendy restaurant, a top-notch spa, or a trusted bank.  You play background music to improve the atmosphere. But is it “the right” background music? This question has puzzled you. You’re not completely satisfied with what you hear now. There’s too much repetition, too many slow songs, and too many songs that clash with your brand image and in-store mood. And how do you stop it from playing that one song you hate that always seems to come on?!

How do you know what music is right to play in your business? Here are some ways to decide:

Ask yourself

Many businesses are a reflection of the owner. The owner/manager/creator puts her passion and soul into the look and feel, the services and products. Music is a part of that passion. If an owner feels that her music tastes completely reflect the brand, that’s a strong connection. Employees and guests will feel that bond and music will be a part of the brand. So go with your instincts and pick the songs you think are right, because your instincts and direction should already be a big part of the brand.



Ask the employees

After all, it’s the employees who have to listen to the music far more than the guests do. Their opinion does matter. Obviously, their tastes can’t override the brand image and the guest’s needs. But you’ll be surprised by how much employee tastes coincide with your brand images. That’s part of the reason people might work there in the first place – they understand and like the brand. And remember, happier employees equates to better service, higher productivity, lower turnover and more smiles.



Ask the customers

Many businesses today know a lot about the habits and lifestyle of their target consumer. Who is your target customer? Do you know what music they like? It’s OK to survey your guests, formally or informally, to find out A) what they think of the music you play in your business, and B) what music do they like and would enjoy hearing while visiting your business. Interaction with guests can yield insight into why they connect, or don’t connect, with your brand. And remember, happy customers means they’re more satisfied, linger longer, more likely to recommend the brand, and more likely to return again.


Experiment with sounds

If the music mix you’ve been playing sounds off, try a new music mix. Sounds simple, but many people hesitate and don’t even try. So which songs and artists are best to try? You might experiment a bit after hours, or even during slower business hours when you can pay attention. Experiment by playing some different music mixes. When you hear the songs played in the actual store environment, rather than looking a titles on a screen, the sound of the music will click – both positively and negatively. It’ll quickly become apparent whether Kenny Chesney, Chris Botti or Pink sounds best and reflects the brand image, mood, and atmosphere you’re trying to create. Don’t be afraid to try different sounds initially before settling on a core sound.

Ask the expert

Music service providers have worked with hundreds of different types and sizes of businesses. We’ve seen and heard the good and bad music mixes. We’ve seen and heard how the wrong music playing in a business can completely destroy all the imaging and branding that’s been created. We’ve also seen and heard how the right music mix can transform a retail space or restaurant into something much more satisfying.

So please, let us consult you on what sounds fit with your brand. We can analyze your brand, your employees, and your guests to recommend a sophisticated, variety-filled, non-repetitive playlist.  We can suggest compatible songs and artists to grow your starter playlist. And we can tell you what songs and artists to stay away from. We have professionals whose job it is to listen to and select music and put it in the best sequence. Now that’s a great job!

photos from the New York Public Library Digital Gallery

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