Not long ago, my daughter Rachel was working on a project for one of her classes. She is majoring in Vocal Performance at Brigham Young University, and her project involved the role of music in a movie soundtrack. One of her friends had commented that music wasn’t all that important…that it was just for entertainment and not all that consequential. She was appalled. Music is her life and passion and the thought that someone would think that music didn’t matter would not compute for her. Her outraged comment was “have you ever heard a movie without the soundtrack? Without the music, the movie is nothing.” I challenge you to pick your favorite movie, choose a climatic moment and then hit the mute button. I think you’ll agree, it falls very flat.

Have you noticed when you go into a retail store, there is more often than not, music playing in the background? It is a proven fact that we shop longer and purchase more when we are exposed to music during our shopping experience. And the type of music we hear is often a reflection of the store we are visiting. The music you will hear at a Starbucks is very different from what you will hear at a large retailer…and that is by design. The music reflects the brands identity and values. One of the biggest mistakes that leaders make when choosing music is that they choose the music THEY like, rather than music that showcases and enhances their brand or identity.

Many studies discuss the benefits of music in business. These studies suggest that different types of background music can influence buying habits and how we behave as consumers. A published study called “Music Congruity Effects on Product Memory, Perception, and Choice” shows that ethnic music (Chinese, Indian) increased the memory recall from menu items from those countries. Classical music increased the willingness to pay for items related to social identity and Country music increased the willingness to pay for items of a utilitarian nature. Music is compelling and can significantly enhance your customer experience OR can seriously detract from it.

We have advanced to the point where music is literally with us all the time…on our devices, via satellite in our vehicles and streaming on our TV’s and computers. Why not take advantage of all that technology and availability? Here are a few reasons why you might want to include music in your business:

Music Eases Pain

Music in the background is more than just “nice.” Music actually eases pain so if you lead a team in a field where pain is a part of life, like a doctors office, massage therapist, hospital, or something similar or related, music can help your clients have a less stressful and painful and thus more pleasant visit. NPR reported on the importance of music and its pain reducing capacity back in 2015 and a growing body of research shows it really works.

Music Increases Energy Levels

If you have customers walking around your store or just need to keep them awake, music has the ability to keep your visitors active and engaged. Slower tempo music tends to relax and put you to sleep, so an up-beat, catchy tempo will help keep those eyelids open and the blood thumping with a net result that customers are awake, pumped up and ready to do business with YOU.

Music Can Help Define Your Identity

As I mentioned earlier, the music you might hear at a Starbucks is very different from what you might hear to at your bank or gym. Judicious selection of music can help you craft your brand and establish your presence in the minds of your target audience. It is an excellent opportunity to showcase who you are and what you believe it…all through the power of suggestion in the music you play. Not long ago, I visited a client that had this concept absolutely dialed in. They are an indoor trampoline park and the music was very upbeat and incredibly catchy. Deep thumping base with an infectious rhythm had me bobbing my head and tapping my feet and I actually sat down and just listened for nearly 20 minutes. I didn’t want to leave solely on the experience I had listening to their music. That was the idea, right? A customer who doesn’t want to go will spend more money and a positive experience will make them come back time and time again.

It Increases Productivity

If you don’t get much foot traffic, that’s ok…music has great benefits for you as well. Research shows the type, volume, tempo and exposure time to music can increase cognitive function and even make employees actually WANT to work. Music causes the production of Dopamine in the brain and “Dopamine is what stimulates the prefrontal cortex, which is the center of the brain responsible for planning, organizing, inhibition control and attention,” says Merriam Saunders, psychotherapist at Merriam Sarcia Saunders, LMFT and adjunct graduate counseling psychology professor at Dominican University

Utilizing music in your work environment, whether it is for the customer or the employees’ benefit, will help you be more efficient and productive as an organization. Music has the power to create a welcoming environment where it just doesn’t matter what kind of day you’ve had, it can all be turned around in an instant with a great tune.


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