The Music to Customer Experience

Sound Branding & Audio Solutions


Music has always been a significant element in the retail world. Playing music in stores has become an element in retail to create a unique atmosphere and enhance the overall customer experience.


Choosing the right music to match brand identity 

Trying to create the optimum soundtrack for a brand is no mean feat. It’s putting a scientific lens on a matter that is, by character, not scientific. This involves finding the objective point of view of the music in order to perform the task of translating marketing language into musical language. 

By analysing individual and collective words used by brands to describe themselves, their products and their customer experience, it then becomes a process of finding the links between these ‘brand words’ and the ‘musical words’. From here, you can begin to express the brand through a tailored selection of music

This is a very creative process requiring a deep musical knowledge, from the technical side to the historical. For example, a word could relate to a song that was written at a certain period of time by a certain group of people, and this could either be connected to the brand or resonate with a specific audience group. 

Choosing the right music to match the brand is one thing. Then there’s striking the balance between the three different heads listening to the shop music. These are the marketing office, the customers, and the employees of the store. The music has to express the brand. It must always cater to these three different listeners with three different needs.

With this strategy implemented, it’s then a case of generating fresh music every week to keep all the stakeholders happy; just as trends are constantly evolving, shop music has to match this. It’s a constant process. 


The legal considerations involved in using music in retail 

There’s always a balancing act that takes place between law and music. Just as musicians need to be equipped with the knowledge of how to manage their own copyrights and deal with contracts, retailers need to know the ins and outs of song rights, royalties and licensing. 

To play any music in public or in a business, live or recorded, you need a music licence. In the UK this is called, easily enough, ‘TheMusicLicence’.

Costs vary depending on the venue and how you are using the music. For the retail world, these charges fall under the ‘Shops & Stores’ sector category.

Within this category, licence costs are calculated based on business factors. These factors include the size of the business, square meterage, and number of employees. Additionally, it considers how you play music, such as background music on speakers or through TVs.

These fees are then distributed to all the relevant performers, creatives and companies behind the music.

When setting up or building a small business in particular, considerations like a music licence may fall under the radar, but are fundamental for both your business and the music world. 


The positive impact on the customer and employee experience

The music is strictly connected to the brand, its products, its environment and, therefore, the overall shopping experience. It is a reflection of your brand, giving your shops an identity and forming a coherent strategy with your marketing. When it comes to in store music, there are two main parties: the customer and the employee. 

For customers, music has the power, even in a passive way, to sway decisions, draw them to products and embolden a lasting relationship with the brand. Customers may stay longer in shops—even unknowingly—because they’re enjoying the music (and vice versa if they don’t like it).

For employees, playing the right songs can trigger an upswing in morale and help productivity, enjoyment and motivation. The shop is a shared environment and, consequently, it becomes a shared experience. 

By analyzing which songs generate a reaction from staff and customers, you can create an effective strategy. This analysis considers the time of day, seasons, and broader social trends. The resulting strategy can offer an engaging experience.

The soundtrack can also act as a unifying point between customers and employees. They might connect through certain songs being played.

Making these adjustments, even subtle, can help to complement the mood of your audience and, ultimately, bolster business. 


The soundtrack to the customer experience

If you can create a soundtrack that exemplifies who you are, who your audience is and creates a positive experience for both your customers and employees, you are on track to elevating your marketing strategy.  

This begins by translating your marketing language into a musical one and treating this as an ongoing process. With the correct legal considerations accounted for, you can then focus on the main event: the in store experience. Shopping is not just about the goods and the service; it is a space to enjoy for its vibe and atmosphere. 

The soundtrack to the customer experience can go a long way to amplifying what your brand is all about. With the right song selection, you’re not only reflecting your brand identity, but creating it


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