Music and the Impact of Big-Ticket Spending

Music is soothing, invigorating, and engaging. It is a uniquely human experience to use music to motivate ourselves, manage our mood, and help us relax.

Business owners have used both background and foreground music for decades to encourage their patrons to stay longer and browse or move quickly so they can feel accomplished.

Specific kinds of music can cause specific kinds of reactions. When you retail big-ticket items, you can use music to encourage your customers to examine items more closely and make different purchasing decisions.

Best Music for the Sale of Big-Ticket Items

Since most people make big-ticket purchases during the holiday season, you could pipe in Bing Crosby and other classics all year long. But this approach could make you seem dated too.

Try connecting your music choices to the products you're trying to sell. Here are a few suggestions:


The "electronics" field is vast and encompasses everything from computers to televisions to phones. They share an electronic underpinning, and you could play that up in your music.

Try filling the space with artists like Ben Böhmer, David Keno, Fejká, GHEIST, Hessian, Monolink, Rodriguez Jr., Solomun, Stephan Bodzin, and Worakls. You can find them on our Chill Tech channel.


On average, people spend more than $2,000 on living room furniture alone. People hoping to give a whole house a refresh may spend a lot of time (and money) in your shop.

Nostalgic music reminds people of the good times they had in homes of the past. Picking a wide swath of artists ensures that everyone feels the pull of a good memory.

Try playing music from The Beatles, Elvis Presley, James Brown, Little Richard, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Deep Purple, AC/DC, The Eagles, The Bee Gees, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Parliament, Wings, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Hall & Oates, Prince, and Journey. You can find them on our 60s, 70s, and 80s Hits channel.


Experts say December is the best time to buy a new appliance. But for many people, the shopping starts when the old version breaks down. Your customers may be stressed out, angry, and worried about costs. They may also have plenty of questions, and they need to talk in detail with your staff.

The perfect music will be relaxing, but it should also fade into the background and allow for conversations. Try playing music from Art Blakey, Chet Baker, Cannonball Adderley, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Erroll Garner, and Roy Hargrove. You can find them on our Jazz Instrumental channel.


An automobile is a bit like a greeting card. It's the first thing people see when you roll into the parking lot. People take this decision very seriously, and they need time to browse, ask questions, and find the right fit. Expect them to linger in your lot.

Check out this blog post filled with great ideas about music for car dealerships. As you'll see, the recommendations vary depending on the types of cars you sell.

How Music Impacts Our Shopping Behavior, Including for Big-Ticket Items

There are different parts of music to consider when you want to keep your customers in your store looking at items, especially when those items may be more expensive.

Music Volume

Most importantly, the volume of the music in your store must match your brand identity. Overwhelmingly, customers respond best to moderate volumes, so the music does not intrude on their thoughts too much.

Younger generations may be more interested in louder music, and older adults are more interested in background music, so consider your store’s demographic. If there is a lot of ambient noise around your store, you may consider volume changes while managing sound quality with a high-quality amplifier and speakers.

Even when customers like the songs, music that is too loud will cause them to leave and consider not coming back. When the volume is appropriate, however, customers stay in the store longer, browsing items they may not need.

If your store sells higher-priced items like televisions or jewelry, keeping your customers there with music at a good volume can encourage them to look at items longer and consider if they wish to purchase them.

Music Tempo

A song’s tempo refers to how fast or slow it is. As one might expect, fast music encourages higher energy and faster movement, while slow music encourages walking more slowly and relaxing into the song. Grocery stores and fast food restaurants may play fast-tempo music to encourage shopper turnover because it doesn’t hurt sales for them.

When you sell big-ticket items, you may consider playing slower music. Spending a lot of money can feel stressful, and playing relaxing tunes can help the customer make a big decision and still feel good about the purchase.

In one study, faster tempo music was found to make spicy food taste spicier to some restaurant-goers. This enhancement of flavor may encourage them to buy more, and in a high-end restaurant, that may mean more expensive cocktails or wines.

Music Mode

This aspect of music involves the harmony or melody of a song, which in Western music terms is either the major or minor key. Songs written in the major key tend to feel happy, and songs in the minor key tend to feel sad or angry, depending on their tempo.

Matching the mode and tempo is important for your customers. Slow music in a major key is less enjoyable for shoppers than minor-key music with slow pacing. Major-key music with a faster tempo sounds joyful, inspiring happiness in shoppers, so if your brand image works with this type of music, it can greatly help your customers feel good. However, a study found that there was no significant loss in sales when stores played songs in the minor key regardless of tempo.

Music Genre

This is one aspect of music that can directly influence big-ticket items. For example, classical music played in wine stores was found to encourage shoppers to buy more expensive wine even though they did not purchase more bottles.

Similarly, diners in restaurants, bars, and cafes bought more alcohol when music was slower in tempo, encouraging them to relax and spend more time on their meal.

However, classical or instrumental music may encourage your diners to spend more on fancier items because they perceive big-ticket items to be more intelligent choices.

A study of college students in Scotland found that listening to classical music influenced how much the participants perceived luxury items to cost, indicating that they would be willing to spend more on items if the background music was right. Similarly, the study found that listening to country music encouraged the participants to perceive utilitarian items, like razors or pens, as more expensive.

Using This Information to Satisfy Your Customers

Based on what your restaurant or storefront sells, you can use the above information to manage a playlist that encourages your patrons to stay longer, relax, examine the information you have about your big-ticket items, ask questions, and ultimately feel good about what they have bought.

Where to Get Music for Your Business

Figuring out what to play is just part of the equation. You must also figure out how to make it happen. Work with a partner for the best results.

At Cloud Cover Music, we help you fill your space with sounds. Our preselected playlists make it easy to get started, but you can also build your own. Contact us to get started.


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