Playing Music in Your Liquor Store (+ Playlists)

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Working in a retail environment is hard. Typically, shop owners need to entice their customers to walk through the door, and once they have made the trip, they need to be convinced to make a purchase.

Liquor retailing is different. According to Nielsen, the majority of people who come into a liquor store are there to buy something. In fact, Nielsen says, among baby boomers, 76 percent only come to a liquor store because they know they need something. These aren't browsers. They are shopping with intent.

Given that most of your customers are there to spend money on the thing you are selling, can you afford to skip out on the ambience music can provide? Not quite. The right music and playlists can do things for your business that simple silence just can't.

Highlighting the Fun with Music

An expert writing in Psychology Today reports that people have a spike in drink cravings when they are exposed to things that remind them of drinking. These so-called cues work deep within the brain, far below the level of consciousness, and they can prompt people to do things they were never expecting to do in the first place.

When researchers examine the power of alcohol cues, as they did in a study published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, they often lean on the visual. Researchers show people pictures of other people drinking, and they measure how much the participant in the study wants a drink after seeing those pictures.

In a way, your entire liquor store works as a visual drinking cue. When people walk through your doors, they see the following:

  • Bottles of liquor
  • Wine and beer glasses
  • Bottle openers
  • Mixers
  • Cocktail shakers
  • Liquor signs and posters

Each image they see can remind these people of the products they are about to consume and the fun they are about to have. You can augment that experience by adding music that reminds people of drinking.

For example, you could put together a playlist of songs that are all about drinking. Meeting your customers with country songs such as "Red Solo Cup" by Toby Keith or "The More I Drink" by Blake Shelton could reinforce the drinking vibe your products put across. You should be cautious about the lyrics in your songs, to ensure that you aren't highlighting an anti-drinking message with the words you are pushing across, but a fun and playful list about drinking could help your customers to enjoy their time with you just a bit more.

You could also consider playing music that is relaxing, which has no words at all. A study published in the Journal of Public Health found that people drink at home, in part, because they are hoping to relieve stress. People drinking at home to beat stress may not want to listen to party music. They may prefer softer songs on the jazz spectrum. If you notice that most of your customers come into your shop seeming stressed and worried, this could be a better choice for you. You could stick with classic jazz heavy on Miles Davis, or you could move to smooth jazz songs instead.


1. Jazz:

Song: Jackie In The Rain

Artist(s): Terence Blanchard, Kenny Barron, Carl Allen, David Pulphus

Song: Blue in Green

Artist(s): Miles Davis

Song: Journey Into The Melody

Artist(s): Stanley Turrentine

Song: Cheese Cake - Remastered 1999/Rudy Van Gelder Edition

Artist(s): Dexter Gordon

Song: Dig Dis - Remastered 1999/Rudy Van Gelder Edition

Artist(s): Hank Mobley

Song: Moanin'

Artist(s): Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers

Song: On The Sunny Side Of The Street

Artist(s): Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Stitt, Sonny Rollins

Song: Blue Bossa - Remastered

Artist(s): Joe Henderson

Song: Confirmation - Take 3 / Master

Artist(s): Charlie Parker Quartet

Song: So Tired - Remastered 2005

Artist(s): Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers

2. Country (Drinking):

Song: Drinking Class

Artist(s): Lee Brice

Song: Buy My Own Drinks

Artist(s): Runaway June

Song: Drink All Day

Artist(s): Jake Owen

Song: Drink In My Hand

Artist(s): Eric Church

Song: Drink Myself Single

Artist(s): Sunny Sweeney

Song: Drinkin' And Dialin'

Artist(s): Darius Rucker

Song: Drinkin' Town With A Football Problem

Artist(s): Billy Currington

Song: Fix a Drink

Artist(s): Chris Janson

Song: If You're Drinkin'

Artist(s): Ryan Robinette

Song: One More Drinkin' Song

Artist(s): Jerrod Niemann

3. R&B/Neo-Soul/Hip Hop:

Song: Didn't Cha Know

Artist(s): Erykah Badu

Song: Ain't No Woman (Like The One I've Got)

Artist(s): Four Tops

Song: All My People

Artist(s): Kindred The Family Soul


Artist(s): Daniel Caesar, Brandy

Song: Nakamarra

Artist(s): Hiatus Kaiyote

Song: Cure

Artist(s): Moonchild

Song: All Falls Down

Artist(s): Kanye West, Syleena Johnson

Song: Another Life

Artist(s): D'Angelo

Song: Apartment

Artist(s): Free Nationals, Benny Sings

Song: Can I Kick It?

Artist(s): A Tribe Called Quest

Song: Gettin Up

Artist(s): Q-Tip

Protecting Your Business

Before you play your music, you must secure the rights to play that music. Each song you play is likely protected by copyright laws, and there are enforcers out there who are willing to file lawsuits if you play songs without permission.

For example, Hartford Business reported on a restaurant in Connecticut that paid $18,000 after an agent of a copyright company got proof that the restaurant owners played nine songs without permission. The same could happen to you if you do not secure rights for the songs you play.

At Cloud Cover Music, we can help. We work with small business owners just like you to streamline and simplify the music business, so you can play music without breaking the law or enduring a fine. With one contract and one low fee, you can play the music you need and not worry about the consequences. Contact us for a free trial.


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