The Do’s and Don’ts of Choosing Ambient Music

Life is full of do’s and don’ts. Recently we’ve heard a lot about what we should be doing, when and with whom. Maybe you wanted to look the other way when you saw this article promising more do’s and don’ts. But we guarantee this time it will help you and your business– not just now while we’re getting back to ‘normality’, but for the long-term. We’ve put together the best evergreen tips we know to enable you to create the best atmosphere for your customers using background music, keep them happy (and spending) for longer, wanting to return again soon, and having had a great, safe time with you. 

Choosing Ambient music for your business seems, for some people, just too easy. They ‘know’ what tunes they like, and assume their customers are probably the same as them, and so they jump in with both feet, loud and proud. Spoiler alert: this method doesn’t really work. Then there are those who don’t know what brand-appropriate music is, who stay safe with vanilla playlists, the same at all times of the day – they don’t give it a second thought, and besides, who really listens to it much anyway? Further spoiler alert: that approach probably won’t work either. 

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  • Do understand your customers: take time to really think about the most important people in your business – the customers. In a hospitality setting, they’ll want several needs to be met, and those needs are likely to have changed recently with the pandemic and restrictions we’ve all become used to. Talk to someone who knows about brand profiling and be clear on what will help support it. 
  • Do consider your music options: if you’re tempted to not play anything, remember that noises like kitchen activity or staff voices could then dominate. You could rely on the radio, but that’s a risk as to what comes on. Spotify or Apple Music are likely to be appropriate for personal use only and may not to conform to local performing rights regulations. Live music is another option – great choice, but not a regular solution, and it can take a lot of managing. Using a managed service avoids these pitfalls – quick setup, lots of control over music and brand-matching. Whichever option you choose, make sure it’s delivering for you and your business.
  • Do remember why music matters: It’s one of the most direct ways to make your customers feel something – an emotion, a connection – helping them to create memories while they’re with you. This is backed up by scientific studies: tailoring your music to your brand brings revenue increase; customers who like your music are more likely to buy and buy again from you; music stimulates the release of good chemicals in the brain and improves mood. Interestingly, it can also evoke personal memories of experience that you and others have had, so it can bring people together – and that’s something we all need right now.
  • Do choose a good sound system – there are some great options available to you. It doesn’t have to be top of the range, but the speakers should be discreetly placed, whilst still giving great sound quality – and remember to adjust the volume according to space and time, as that’s something which can often divide people!


  • Don’t assume what you like is what your customers like: maybe you have really great taste in music – but that doesn’t mean the tracks you listen to whilst driving are going to be perfect for your business too. What music connects with us and moves us is a really a subjective thing, so treat it with caution and give some thought to what your brand and customers need.
  • Don’t treat all times of day and night as the same: This is an important one, because they really aren’t the same! The happy hour demands a different style to a theme night, which probably needs different music to an early bird session, and so on. There’s scientific evidence too that music can even alter the taste of what we’re consuming at the time, so if you’re hosting a wine tasting event then choose carefully..
  • Don’t forget to ask and listen to customers: watch and see how they react to the music. Are they shouting because its too loud? (depending on when you’re reading this, there may still be some Covid restrictions in place which might mean quieter music is the safer choice). Monitor things like customer demographics as you change music – have you seen more people, or more different people coming to your site? Younger, older? 
  • Don’t forget your staff – they are the people who’ll have to hear the music most often, so ensure they have enough control over the system, and that their views and tastes are in the mix too. Having the right number of people able to control things is a fine balance, but it will pay off. 

So although it’s another set of guidelines, these will save you time – and money – in the future, when your background music is tuned perfectly to your customers’ mood, the time of day and the whole ethos of your brand. To learn more about how you can use music to motivate your employees, engage your customers and increase spend, sign up to our monthly newsletter, or if you’d like to know how Ambie could help your business, book a demo with one of our consultants: