I love Beyoncé. Like worship-level love. But I have come to appreciate that some people don’t. Why? Well I have no idea because she’s basically a living goddess, but for whatever reason, some people don’t like her. Why am I telling you this? Because there’s a lesson to be learnt here!
If I were to walk into a store playing Beyoncé, subconsciously I’d want to stay a bit longer. If I were in a café, you better believe I’d order another long mac and hang out for another half hour. It’s free Beyoncé! My boyfriend on the other hand would be outta there before I could drain my first cup. Why? Because he’s a Beyoncé non-appreciator. Beyoncé is not enough for him to stay in a store or café, in fact she’s enough to make him want to leave. And that’s terrible for business!
When choosing your music for business, you’re basically taking a punt on the tastes of your patrons. The problem with playing commercial music or radio in store is, not only is it expensive, it’s also hugely divisive.
There’s a particular café I am sometimes forced to visit because it’s local, but under normal circumstances I avoid it – specifically because of the owner’s infuriating music choices. If it’s not blaringly loud club bangers at 9 in the morning, it’s dreary post-rock which forces me to try and stay awake while I’m gulping down my flat white. Everything else about the café is great – good spot, coffee’s nice, the staff members are efficient, but the music, urgh. Just the worst.
This café has fallen into the music for business trap of trying to force the mood or they just straight up don’t care about their customers. Like the Beyoncé predicament, they’ve set themselves up in a tight spot because if their patrons don’t happen to like David Guetta or Mogwai they won’t want to stay longer or perhaps won’t even go at all.
The music for business problem – fixing it
How to fix this problem? Play nothing at all? Yeah, maybe if you want a hollow room with no atmosphere. If you’re going to take away anything from this article I want it to be this – set the mood, don’t force the mood. Create an environment your customers will enjoy, never force it. When considering your playlist, you might like to choose:
● background music which is unlikely to offend.
● something pleasant under 120 BPM
● songs with no lyrics
● tracks that set the mood you want to create, without the headaches which come with playing artists patrons hate.
And don’t you ever EVER think about playing commercial radio in your store. It’s bad enough you’re making your customers listen to songs they dislike, but you also run the risk playing ads for someone else!
Another key here is volume – if your customers can’t hear themselves think let alone their companions, you’re doing it wrong. And as much as you probably don’t want to hear this, in-store music is less about the trendy tunes you want to listen to all day, and more about creating the right ambience for the retail environment your customers are going to enjoy.
Ambient, lyric-free music really is your best music for business option. But don’t just pick whatevers available. Invest in music that adds to your customer experience. Use it in store. Use it in your marketing materials – your YouTube videos, your On Hold messages, your training videos, seriously wherever! Once you’ve invested in this music, use it. Use it to your advantage to subconsciously build your brand (yes, people will notice) and use it to make sure next time I walk through your door I’m happy to pull out a book and order another drink.