How background music can boost your business

Improving sales and customer perceptions

Music is a fundamental part of everyone’s lives. We grow up learning from the best (our parents, of course), before we embark on our own musical journey, usually with some questionable beginnings, until we settle into our own musical preferences.

Music has the magical ability to enhance the happiest of moments and push people through the toughest, and is even used as a popular method of therapy – so why do we neglect this vital psychological aspect in our businesses?

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Background music has a large impact on your customer’s perception of your brand, how long they stay, and how much they spend.

In 2017, HUI Research were commissioned to measure the effect background music had within restaurants in Sweden. The cooperative study revolved around a globally leading quick service restaurant (who we cannot name, but you probably passed this morning) and revealed that the right music can have a significant effect on sales. You can find the whole study here, but in a nutshell:

Brand-matching music led to a 15.6% increase in buying additional items that the customer may not have purchased before.

– A random selection of music that was not brand-matching led to a 9.1% decrease in total sales.

– Music that didn’t match the brand led to lower sales than when no music was playing at all!

Based on an additional survey, brand-matching music also caused the customers to experience an improved sense of well-being and satisfaction compared to when listening to brand-mismatching music, suggesting they were likely to stay longer and spend more.

Just picking tracks because they’re popular doesn’t always cut it. Even if your customers like popular music it doesn’t always result in them feeling good and spending more if it doesn’t fit your brand.

If you consider your business to be a high-end bar, serving luxury cocktails and an ideal spot for social drinks or business meetings, your music must reflect the atmosphere and the tastes of your clientele.

This goes even further when you break down the playlist schedule for different trading patterns. For example, one playlist that matches your laid-back business lunchtime trade won’t be the same as your quick and bustling evening trade. The tempo and genre of music at these contrasting times could be very different, however it must still be carefully tailored to fit the atmosphere, and ultimately, your brand. The wrong music (and at the wrong time) can confuse your customers, make them uneasy, and ultimately push them to find somewhere else to have a drink!

A study by psychologists at the University of Leicester concluded that even for customers who felt music was unimportant, their perception of the store’s atmosphere was influenced by the music playing.

– Customers thought the store was ‘cool and modern’ when upbeat, fast tempo music was played.

– Customers thought the store was ‘tired and dull’ when slow rock music was played.

Music can still have a subconscious effect on your customers without them even realising it.

If customers have a negative perception of your brand, they are not going to want to spend a significant amount of time in your store or restaurant, and thus spend more money. Get the background music spot-on, and your customers’ positive perceptions of your brand will lead them to stay longer, and spend more.

How are other businesses boosting their performance with background music?

By appealing to an eclectic variety of customers

For Notes, a chain of coffee shops and wine bars, background music is at the heart of the business. With their first coffee shop being located in a music shop next to Royal Opera House in London, they really had to focus on playing the right music to their eclectic mix of customers.

Notes founder, Fabio, quickly learned that people will let you know if the music was bad and he was feeling the pressure! In the daytime, Notes is a coffee shop, whereas by night it is a wine bar, and Fabio finds music is the perfect ally to transition between trading patterns.

By creating the perfect atmosphere

Chris Fung, CEO of Crussh juice bars finds background music hugely important to his brand. He states, “If we can create the right environment where our music is interesting, enjoyable and non-obtrusive, our customers will be encouraged to stay longer and visit Crussh more frequently.”

How you can do it, too!

Matching your background music to your brand is a multi-dimensional task that you not only need to get right once, but continuously get right as your brand evolves and your customers’ tastes change.

Music selection requires attention and some TLC, but many business owners and managers neglect to prioritise it until they learn what a difference it can make to their business. The emerging research on the impact background music can have on customer behaviour and sales is exciting for businesses that can now utilise music not only as an expression of the brand, but also a unique business-development tool.

Do you want your background music to do more for your brand? Find out how Ambie can work with you to understand your brand and match it with the perfect soundtrack to boost your sales and customer satisfaction.


1. North, D. Hargreaves and J. McKendrick. (1997). The perceived importance of in-store music and its effects on store atmosphere. Available at:

2. Daunfeldt, S., Rudholm, N., Sporre, H. and Moradi, J. (2017). The Impact of music in restaurants. [pdf] Stockholm: HUI Research in partnership with Soundtrack Your Brand. Available at: ‘

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