Humans naturally have emotional attachments and reactions to music. The music played in your business can impact how your customers view your brand. For many business owners, this means managing a playlist or playing artists whose music they feel lines up best with their image.
Increasingly, stores are using smaller wireless speakers and internet-based music streaming services to provide soothing background or energizing foreground music. You want to make sure your customers stay in your store, enjoy their time, and appreciate your merchandise.
Music Is Important to Patrons
HeartBeats International examined the impact that music has on consumers. They found that music ranked as the third most-important commodity in daily life, following internet access and mobile phones. The group reported that music made them stay in establishments longer, with 35 percent saying they stayed because of music, 31 percent saying they would revisit because of the music’s impact, and 21 percent reporting that they would recommend the place to others, as their feelings about the place were strong and had been influenced by the music choices.
When asked more about music selection, 82 percent of the group reported that music volume impacted their perception of the shop, and 87 percent reported that volume impacted their feelings about a restaurant.
Music that matched the profile or brand of the establishment, corresponded to the tastes of the visitor, and was familiar were also important components – but not as crucial as volume.
The volume of background music can also be impacted by sound quality. Using inexpensive or low-quality speakers may cause distortion that does not resonate well with patrons. If you run a small business, you may start with a wireless speaker hooked to your phone or a tablet to play music, but many wireless speakers are not intended to compete with the sounds of several customers or noise from the street. They are also not intended to be used in spaces larger than a living room. While it is easier to access at first, personal sound system equipment is simply not enough for many brick-and-mortar stores. Fortunately, many companies offer commercial sound systems for use in your store.
There are four basic parts to a good commercial or in-store sound set-up.
- Audio source: Music is played through this device. It could be an MP3 player, CD player, vinyl record player, smartphone, or tablet. There are numerous music sources for all kinds of applications.
- Amplifier: This is the power behind the speakers, converting the quality of the input’s signal to make sound through the outputs.
- Volume controller: For many setups, the volume control knob may be built into the whole system. For commercial setups, with separate speakers across the establishment, a separate volume controller may be needed.
- Speakers: These devices broadcast background music through the store or restaurant. Larger rooms may need more speakers with monophonic audio while smaller rooms could benefit from fewer speakers with stereo sound.
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Hardware Components of Your In-Store System
If you end up with a more complex setup, you may find that you need a master volume control and a mixer. The mixer combines two or more low-level sound inputs, so they are mixed into one monophonic output through the speaker. Home sound systems often encourage users to work for high-quality stereo sound, but considerations for a commercial setup involve how close patrons may be to a speaker at any given time, how large the space is (which may distort the sound), and how much additional noise interference occurs. Monophonic sound means that customers can hear high-quality music when they are closer to the speakers without missing any part of the song.
Increasingly, wireless speakers are bypassing amps and volume control hardware. Both software and hardware advancements have made wireless speakers produce high-quality sound, but the connection to audio source can be disrupted more easily, and many of these speakers are still not as high-quality as wired in-store setups.
Streaming Services for Personal vs. Business Settings
When you’re creating a high-quality in-home audio setup, you are likely going to use your computer, tablet, or smartphone as a solution to play music at some point. There are dozens of music streaming services that are available for personal use, either for free by listening to occasional advertisements or for a subscription fee with no ads.
- Apple Music
- SoundCloud Go
- Google Play Music
- Amazon Prime Music
When you subscribe as an individual to these services, it is fine for you to use them in your home, car, or with headphones. However, you cannot legally play them in your business. This is because copyright law defines any performance in a space that is not for personal use as a public performance since there are numerous people potentially listening to a song, and artists should make royalties from any audience they get.
If you want to stream music, you may consider purchasing licenses through performing rights organizations (PROs). A PRO will manage a catalogue of music copyrights and offer licenses for commercial use for different lengths of time.
Traditionally, business owners have contacted PROs and purchased licenses for a catalogue of music they can use in their store or restaurant. Each PRO manages a different catalogue of music, so many businesses find that they have to purchase multiple licenses to get all the songs they want. Business-focused music streaming services manage licensing through multiple PROs, so you as a business owner can have access to a wider range of background music by subscribing to one.
Making Every Component of Your In-Store Music System Work Together
Now that the foundation of your in-store music system has been determined, you must choose details about each type of device, including output quality, the power needs and ratings, wire size or going wireless, and how to best manage the volume of the music output.
Then, you must get your hardware and software to work together. Figuring out the perfect setup is a complex process. You’re already running a business, and learning the tools to set up an in-store music system can be more than you want to deal with directly. Since the internet is creating greater access to all kinds of tools – from streaming background music to hardware knowledge – many commercial music streaming companies also offer consultations on the best setup and solutions for your store, hardware that works with their streaming service, and assistance installing the entire suite. Your in-store music system can perfectly suit your business with the convenience of working with one company.
If you’d like one company to handle all your business’s music needs, we’re here to help.
- Uncovering a Musical Myth: A Survey on Music’s Impact in Public Spaces. HeartBeats International.
- Everything You Need to Know About Music Licensing, Commercial Sound Systems, and Choosing Music for Your Business. (July 13, 2016). Dozmia Blog.
- Amplifiers. (September 10, 2017). ExplainThatStuff.com.
- The Best Wireless and Bluetooth Speakers of 2018. (May 30, 2018). PC Mag.
- How the Top Music Streaming Services Compare. (March 30, 2016). Business Insider.