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How does music curation work at Ambie?

Music is something which us as consumers are both consciously and subconsciously aware of in all spheres of our lives. Ever found yourself tapping your foot to the beat in a restaurant, or singing along to the lyrics without even realising? Ever wondered who is responsible for this music? How do the ideal tunes get selected to create the perfect ambiance for the setting? Or is it totally random? It’s also mind-blowing to know that the average daily business playlist contains 300 tracks! That’s over 2,100 songs per week! 

So, with this in mind, the most common question we’re asked by our customers, prospects, colleagues, family and friends all the time is how does music curation work? What exactly does a music curator at Ambie do, apart from hunkering down with their headphones on making playlists all day long?

There are multiple steps when it comes to music curation for our brands and customers which are very intricate yet fascinating, so we’ve decided to raise the curtains and explain how we go about music curation here at Ambie.

“The team are very happy. The playlists are in keeping with our brand, the music playback is more lively and up-to-date…. I’m in the venue four days a week, and find myself singing along to the vast plethora of music!” 

 David Wright, Head of Guest Delivery at All Star Lanes

1. Getting to know each other

For us, we see all of our customer relationships as partnerships, and like any good partnership, honesty, transparency and shared knowledge are the keys to its success. It goes without saying that both parties want the music to impact successfully and meet its objectives.

The first question we’ll always ask is “tell us your story.” We really want to know who the brand is, what makes them tick, what are their unique selling points, what ambiance they are looking to create, and ultimately, why do they need music in their business. From there, we’ll dive deeper into customer demographics, brand values, and how the spaces are set up. Trading patterns for each site and space per site are also incredibly important, helping us to create a grand picture of the ebb and flow of footfall within the venue from morning to evening, Monday to Sunday.

The more intricate the briefing and understanding of the ins and outs of our clients from the get-go, the easier it is for our curators to fully gauge what’s the best route to go. If there’s any music that works particularly well in the space, or any other brands they feel a kinship with, we’ll make sure we’ve got that noted before we get going on curating the brand’s soundtrack. 

Digging through the crates

Music is the reason why Ambie exists, so it’s only natural that all our curators are always curious and on the prowl in search of the next pop banger or that dusty, long-forgotten B-side. We’re constantly staying up-to-date with the latest chart hits, the best songs per genre as well as the best of local music. What gets our team excited is taking a brand’s music brief from sketch to completion and seeing the space transform! 

From there, Ambie’s curators are set to go! Depending on whether the brand wants to use music to subtly elevate their surroundings or alternatively, where music will be in the foreground as a key component of their offering, we’ll make sure each track selected helps ensure these objectives are achieved. We will evaluate which tracks best work for the brand’s trading patterns – busy and quiet periods – and if there are any marquee artists or songs that the playlist can be built around.

We’ll look high and low for suitable tracks – ones we know by heart, new ones on blogs or other playlists, or by tracks sent to us by artists, labels and industry tastemakers. If it’s a genre or language we’re not too familiar with, we’ll loop in our network of global curators, as they’ll be better placed at selecting tracks that might work for the playlist, whilst taking into account religious, cultural or language sensitivities along the way.

One of the best feedbacks we receive on a regular basis is that the music was so good that they forgot there wasn’t a DJ, this also saves us money on that having to have DJs all the time.

Mike Parnham, Managing Director of Rum Kitchen

3. Human technology

Here’s where things get clever! Once our curators have picked the tracks that will fill the brand’s weekly schedule, we’ll add another layer of personalisation on top to make the Ambie app uniquely theirs. To do this, we utilise tools to tell us if a site is likely to hear many track repeats across a 48 hour period – for instance if a playlist is scheduled for too long – allowing our curators to tweak the schedule or add more tracks accordingly. 

Alongside the handpicked track updates each month (we will never use a computer algorithm to select these), we utilise smart technology to help keep the music sounding fresh. Ambie’s Smart Shuffle feature is used to seamlessly temporarily remove some of the most played tracks in the playlist, before adding them back in at a later date, ensuring that the music is always varied, especially for those loyal customers. 

4. On-going conversations and feedback

Maintaining a healthy partnership takes work from both sides. That’s why we created the tools to make the tasks user friendly for both parties. As well as updating the playlists each and every month by removing old tracks and sourcing new ones, we proactively monitor all activity on our customers’ accounts. That involves looking out for feedback sent through the Ambie Remote on individual tracks, and then tweaking the playlists accordingly. The Ambie Dashboard makes it easy for our customers to connect our curators directly, opening up a direct line of communication for playlist requests, track suggestions, seasonal refreshes and more.

If you have any specific curation questions, get in touch with one of our expert curators.

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