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Why a “Unified Music Strategy” is Important for Businesses with Multiple Locations

Posted by John on November 7th, 2014

Imagine going into a Target store and seeing some employees wearing blue, others wearing black.  Wait, aren’t they all supposed to wear red? Yes, but this Target store lets employees wear whatever they want to.

Or imagine going into a Chipotle to order a burrito and they say “no flour tortillas. This store saves money by serving food only in bowls.”

The point is, consistency matters in a brand. Customers have a expectation of consistency in the service and consistency in the products no matter which location they visit. Consistency also carries through to the appearance, aesthetics, mood and environment of the brand at every location.

If there’s a “look” to a brand then there is a “sound”. That’s why music consistency is important in retail stores, restaurants, hotels and any business with multiple locations. Consistent music is sometimes called a “unified music strategy.”

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Customer expectations

Just as you expect the same food choices at a restaurant brand with multiple locations, why would one location play classic rock and another play top 40 hits? It’s the same restaurant brand, isn’t it! Different music creates a completely different attitude, vibe and personality for a brand that’s trying to promote consistency.

Employees, managers, and even franchise owners should not be the decision makers about what music fits best at their location. Music is a branding and marketing decision that needs to match the image and be uniform throughout multiple locations. We have talked to many business owners who are frustrated by the music they hear their employees selecting – it doesn’t match the overall brand image.

Uniformity doesn’t have to mean boring, bland, stale or uninteresting. Custom Channels creates some very creative, interesting, diverse and fun music channels for many brands with multiple locations.

Consistency is one reason why Pandora for business isn’t the best music solution for stores and restaurants with multiple locations. Each Pandora stream to each location can have a completely different mood and mix of songs, even when starting with the same seed artist. You don’t want one store to sound like “this” and another like “that” according to what Pandora’s algorithms are serving up, do you?

The double music problem – inconsistent and illegal

Having different music services at different locations also raises the question of cost and music licensing. By using a different legal music service at each location, you’re likely paying too much overall. Putting more locations on one service usually equals bigger savings in the overall price by bundling multiple locations together.

What if each location is finding their own solution for music, and not paying for it? Federal copyright rules require businesses to pay music royalties when music is played in places like restaurants, retail stores or medical/dental offices. So if each location uses, for example, Spotify, iTunes, consumer Pandora or their own iPod or iPhone, there’s the double problem. First, it’s not legal and large fines could be imminent. Second, there’s no music consistency between locations. Custom Channels includes music royalties in the monthly fee.

Our recommendation

If you are associated with a business that has multiple locations, we highly recommend a unified music strategy – one music mix to all locations.  The unified music strategy can be our low cost All Access or ReMix channels or a Fully Custom music mix with messaging. But it should be the same channel playing at the same time everywhere. That’s music consistency.  That’s a unified music strategy. That’s a strong, dependable, reliable brand.

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