We blast tunes through our headphones to help us power through a difficult workout. We sing along with our favorite songs in the car during commutes to work. We let music soothe us as we eat dinner. Everywhere we go, music comes with us.
Chances are, music also plays a role in your business. Whether you run a retail shop, a store, an eating establishment, a medical office, or some other kind of brick-and-mortar place, you play business music to help your consumers feel comfortable and engaged.
Choosing the right music for your business is absolutely vital. Just as you wouldn't play your workout music while you're relaxing in the tub, you wouldn't want to play the wrong music in your shop.
Here’s what you should keep in mind as you work on selecting the right business music.
Challenges Across All Business Types
Before we dive into creating the right atmosphere with the perfect music, let's talk a bit about the challenges that businesses of all industries, shapes, and sizes face. That can help us set the stage for why music is so very crucial.
The entire consumer landscape is changing due to the rise and prevalence of the mobile experience. Consider these statistics from The Atlantic. Between 2010 and 2016, Amazon's sales rose from $16 billion to $80 billion. Half of all households in the United States are Amazon Prime subscribers, which means about half of all of us have engaged with this retailer at least once to buy something.
It's not just the retail market that is changing. Connected consumers can do all of these tasks on their phones:
Consult with a doctor.
Choose the perfect workout.
Select an item from a menu and have it delivered.
Select another person's home rather than a hotel for a vacation.
Connected devices can keep consumers in their homes rather than prompting them to visit your establishment. And competition among those facilities that remain standing is fierce.
Consider the restaurant sector. According to The Atlantic, the number of consumers who walk in to a dining establishment has been declining for at least five years, and in 2015, lunchtime traffic was at the lowest level seen in four decades. Those declines are due, in part, to sheer volume. There are so many restaurants for consumers to choose from, and there are a limited number of consumers. That means restaurants are left to fight over the same customers.
Pulling in Customers
While the number of customers interacting with live businesses is declining, the need for customers to connect with you is great. Consumers, in particular, want to interact with businesses.
In research performed by the Pew Research Center, a full 64 percent of Americans said that they prefer buying from physical stores rather than buying products online. They want to try products on, touch them, and interact with them before they make a purchase decision.
Similarly, many consumers curate their lives using online programs like Instagram. These consumers appreciate experiences that photograph well (avocado toast, anyone?), and they may be on the lookout for novel settings for their selfies. To them, getting out of the house is another opportunity to pull in new followers. Your organization can create that opportunity.
"But when those consumers walk through your doors, they expect an experience that is made for them and optimized for their enjoyment. Provide that experience, and they will stay. They may even be enticed to come back again."
Articulating your brand for your consumers might be difficult. You may think of yourself as hip and cool, but until you play music that's modern and heavy on the funk, your customers may not get the message. The soundtrack that's playing in the background can help to explain your brand in mere minutes. And if you choose music correctly, that brand may become simply unforgettable.
Research suggests that music can also enhance the experience your consumers have while they're spending time with you. For example, in a study in the Journal of Vacation Marketing, researchers found that music playing in a hotel can:
Entice consumers to spend more money.
Influence the interactions your customers have with your staff.
Help to soothe a customer who has to wait for service.
Change perceptions about your brand.
Enhance the productivity of your employees.
There are many benefits here, and they all come about through the use of music. But choosing the right music is absolutely crucial.
Research published in the journal Behavior and Information Technology suggests that consumers get a sense of excitement when they're listening to fast music. Some businesses, including convenience and clothing stores, may want consumers to feel excited. But if you're running a restaurant or a spa, excitement may be the exact opposite of the emotion you want your consumers to feel.
The music you play may also be influenced by the products you sell. For example, research in Science X suggests that the owners of Indian and Chinese restaurants often play soft music while those who own fast food or Thai restaurants prefer hard rock. Consumers expect these choices, researchers said.
The key is to think about what your consumers will do while they're under your care and then look for music that matches the activity. The closer you can make your music match, the less confusing your choice will be for your consumers.
What Should You Look For as You Shop?
There are all sorts of options, when it comes to choosing music for your business. The option that's best for you will depend on your goals as a business owner.
For example, if you're running a business in which you want to deliver a consistent experience, day in and day out, you may want a vendor that can provide you with a matching music list to your choosing. If you're running a spa, for example, you may want spa music that is soothing and slightly easy to ignore. With a vendor that is geared towards business with this in mind, you won't have to worry about surprises coming through the loudspeakers.
On the other hand, your business may require different music for different functions. For example, the company Eagle's Flight suggests that company events and conferences work best with dedicated playlists.
If your event has a country theme, for example, your music should change accordingly. You may play classical music in your shop, but for this event, you might want something different. You'd need a vendor that can help you pivot with a selection of all the types of music you need.
You may also worry about cost. In fact, according to the National Federation of Independent Business, the cost of health insurance is the top concern among small business owners. If you're struggling to pay for the cost of care of your employees, the cost of obtaining music may be top of mind for you. A partner that offers low prices might be just the partner you need.
Very busy business owners may also have concerns about ease of use. They may want to ensure that the company they choose makes setup a snap, so they don't need a great deal of technical know-how in order to get started.
They may want a platform that allows for very easy administration, so they don't need someone to regularly manage the songs. Businesses with a consistently rotating staff also want an easy interface, so they can train new employees quickly and know those new employees won't get anything wrong that could upset customers.
We should also mention that playing music requires making a connection with the organizations that hold song copyrights. These organizations, such as Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), collect fees each time protected music is played. That means almost any recording you choose to play in your establishment, whether it's a CD, an MP3 from your personal collection, or a digital playlist, should trigger a payment.
Administering those payments can be complicated. As the organization Dance Studio Life points out, people who own dance instruction organizations must pay fees to these organizations that are based on how many students they have during the week, and the fees can change based on the types of classes they offer. Fees may also change based on how many employees they have, and whether or not they use freelance choreographers.
Managing all of these details can be incredibly complicated and time-consuming, and business owners are required to hold agreements with each organization. Those who don't want to negotiate these sorts of contracts will need a partner that is willing to do so.
It's hard to overstate how complicated and how vital this issue of copyright can be. As Total Food Service points out, federal copyright law is one of the most complicated and misunderstood parts of the legal system. But complying with the law isn't optional. It is the law. If you break it, you could be fined.
We take care of the licensing issues so you can focus on what you do best: managing your business and serving your customers. We can give you the control you need to create the right atmosphere, and we can make setup and administration easy, so you don't need a technical background to start the music playing. Our fees are reasonable and easy to understand, and our billing process is straightforward. We'd love to help you play the music you want, as soon as you're ready to play it. Just contact us to get started.