I walked into a small retail shop that recently opened in a nearby neighborhood shopping center. I was greeted at the door by a calm, friendly dog. Nice start. The employee towards the back of the store said “hello”. I saw no other employees or customers in the store. There was also no music in the store. Dead quiet.

After he said “hello” there was an awkward time as I looked around at the displays, with neither of us knowing if we should talk. Dead quiet. Uninspiring.

I finally asked him about the store, asked about some of the products, and then asked “it’s so quiet in here. Do you ever play music?” His said that another employee who usually works there was out today “and took the iPad with him”. This guy didn’t know how to get music from his personal laptop (open on the checkout counter) to play over the speakers.

We talked for another minute or two about products in the store and then I left, petting the dog, still at the door, on my way out.

What a boring job to work in a dead quiet store all day. What a boring store to walk into with no sounds to liven up the atmosphere.

Music is important to the retail environment, so much so that it should be as dependable as the lights, the payment system, and the air conditioning and should not be reliant upon a single employee (or the owner) to make it work. The music system should be easy to operate and easy to change channels (or not easy change channels depending on the criteria of the management).

  • A store without music makes the hours drag by for employees, especially when there are few customers.
  • A store without music makes the customer feel like they shouldn’t touch anything or shouldn’t stay long.
  • A store without music makes it harder to have a conversation if you’re shopping with a friend because your every word reverberates around the store.

Clearly, this retail store was not using a professional music service that covers all music licensing and royalties. A pro music service would use a stand-alone streaming music player that’s independent of computers, smartphones and iPads.

My guess is that next time I go into this store and there is music playing, it’ll be from a free consumer music source like Spotify or Apple music, neither of which are licensed for the music-for-business setting.

1) Play music in your store.
No matter if it’s classical or pop, hip-hop or country, music adds life, interest, fun and movement to the store’s atmosphere and products. Of course, make sure it’s the right music for the brand.
2) Music satisfies employees’ mental health. Working without any sounds and little interactivity makes the hours creep by slowly.
3) Play music using a professional music service. You’re in business, after all, where commercial-grade and compliance are facts of life. Don’t use consumer services for business-class use.