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Psychology of background music in stores

katlaughing 20 Dec 12 - 11:12 AM
Bee-dubya-ell 20 Dec 12 - 11:46 AM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Dec 12 - 12:08 PM
Tootler 20 Dec 12 - 12:10 PM
GUEST,FloraG 20 Dec 12 - 12:18 PM
Jeri 20 Dec 12 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,Stim 20 Dec 12 - 02:08 PM
katlaughing 20 Dec 12 - 02:55 PM
JennieG 20 Dec 12 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 20 Dec 12 - 05:06 PM
Uncle Phil 20 Dec 12 - 05:21 PM
michaelr 20 Dec 12 - 06:43 PM
GUEST,CS 20 Dec 12 - 06:50 PM
GUEST,CS 20 Dec 12 - 06:55 PM
Tattie Bogle 20 Dec 12 - 07:31 PM
Tootler 20 Dec 12 - 07:37 PM
katlaughing 20 Dec 12 - 10:37 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 20 Dec 12 - 10:42 PM
Joybell 21 Dec 12 - 12:58 AM
Joe Offer 21 Dec 12 - 01:14 AM
GUEST,BobL 21 Dec 12 - 03:03 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 21 Dec 12 - 03:30 AM
GUEST,Gail 21 Dec 12 - 04:06 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 21 Dec 12 - 05:42 AM
GUEST,Eliza 21 Dec 12 - 06:40 AM
kendall 21 Dec 12 - 06:58 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 21 Dec 12 - 07:37 AM
GUEST,Eliza 21 Dec 12 - 03:14 PM
Tattie Bogle 21 Dec 12 - 04:33 PM
GUEST,Stim 21 Dec 12 - 06:02 PM
ripov 21 Dec 12 - 06:09 PM
Joybell 21 Dec 12 - 07:05 PM
Tootler 21 Dec 12 - 07:12 PM
Joybell 21 Dec 12 - 07:19 PM
GUEST,RENO 21 Dec 12 - 07:23 PM
Ron Davies 21 Dec 12 - 07:26 PM
Tattie Bogle 21 Dec 12 - 08:01 PM
Joybell 22 Dec 12 - 12:41 AM
Tattie Bogle 22 Dec 12 - 08:45 AM
Tootler 22 Dec 12 - 11:59 AM
Joybell 22 Dec 12 - 02:34 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 22 Dec 12 - 03:21 PM
GUEST,Patsy 22 Dec 12 - 07:09 PM
Tootler 23 Dec 12 - 06:41 AM
GUEST,Eliza 23 Dec 12 - 06:47 AM
Tattie Bogle 23 Dec 12 - 05:08 PM
Richard Mellish 23 Dec 12 - 06:27 PM
Richard Mellish 23 Dec 12 - 06:33 PM
Don Firth 23 Dec 12 - 07:15 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 23 Dec 12 - 09:52 PM
Don Firth 23 Dec 12 - 10:54 PM
Stanron 24 Dec 12 - 07:38 AM
GUEST,999 24 Dec 12 - 05:05 PM
Jack Campin 24 Dec 12 - 07:57 PM
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Subject: Psychology of background music in stores
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 11:12 AM

I know most people don't like Muzak, but AFAIK, our local grocery stores use radio, etc. to pipe in mostly current pop music.

I wonder if they use the screeching of pop divas to keep people on edge and therefore more likely to grab stuff they didn't meanto get...acting on impulse. Or, do they really think it enhances the shopping experience?

I wonder if they played calm music if they would have happier, less-harried customers who would spend more?

I'm sure there must be some research on it, but would like to hear from you all.

thanks!

kat


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 11:46 AM

I think most Americans have chosen, consciously or unconsciously, to have themselves continually bombarded by mediated stimuli to the point where they've become numb to it. If someone has his television set going 18 hours a day whether he's watching it or not, his brain has developed the ability to tune it out unless he's actively watching it. The flip-side of the coin is that he's also conditioned himself to having all that background noise around all the time. Calm and quiet probably makes him uncomfortable. So, figuring that most Americans are media junkies to whom auditory chaos is a normal part of the environment, stores playing the type of crap most likely to be part of the mediated majority's normal day to day experience are simply trying to make the majority of their customers as comfortable as possible.

Meanwhile, those of us who prefer reading, writing, making art, and playing or listening to non-pop music rush to the shelves, make our purchases, and get the hell out of the store. And that's fine with the stores since we're also the ones least prone to marketers' efforts. We like to shop far less than our more media addicted neighbors and when we do shop, we tend to consider value over media-driven hype. If we're looking for a Christmas present for a ten-year-old grandson, we're more likely to buy him a basketball for $15 than spend $100 for the latest multi-functional crossbreed between a computer and whatever superhero is currently taking up space on the screens at the multiplex.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 12:08 PM

I think most 45-50 yearold male midmanagers mostly grew up with really crummy music. They think they represent the norm, if not the pinnacle, of human society, and what they listen to, everybody will listen to.

I resent it.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Tootler
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 12:10 PM

Don't be fooled.

Psychologists employed by the big supermarket chains study the reactions to music played in the shop and taylor the music to the customers in such a way as to make them more likely to spend. It doesn't always work but works often enough to make it worth the effort.

Muzak, the company that gave its name to piped music in shops recorded their tracks not at a steady tempo but at slowly increasing tempo so that someone who was relaxed would be unconsciously made less relaxed with the hope that they would become slightly flustered and make purchases that they didn't really intend.

I'm pretty sure they have some more tricks up their sleeves but that will do for starters.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 12:18 PM

I avoid my 2 local shops - the co op and Morrisons - in December- because of the naff musac. There are other places to buy turkey and tinsel.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Jeri
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 12:51 PM

True story: yesterday, I was in a hardware store (buying suet for birds) and this guy was walking around plaintively calling "Liiiiiisa, Liiiiisa" (an employee). Lisa finally showed up, about the time I walked over after his final plea, and started singing "My name's not Lisa..." and Lisa came in with "My name is Julie." Maybe that's why they have canned music--so customers don't sing.

I remember reading about a study long ago, when the crap was just starting to catch on. Apparently, there was less shoplifting when they played music. Possibly it was because the sound was a hint that "someone is watching".


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 02:08 PM

I don't think the music really makes people spend. It can, as in the case of FloraG, drive people out if it is too extreme, which is probably why the Muzak is like that.

Part of the reason that Muzak is used in public places is because it covers up distracting background noises. Another part of the reason is that music tends to make an impersonal and foreign environment seem comforting and familar.

Some places, particularly certain types of shopping mall, try to create a more upbeat "fun" atmosphere. This is because a lot of the people are bored out of their minds, be cause the are there with a shopaholic.

If you feel manipulated because stores use music, lighting, displays, etc to make their establishments more appealing to shoppers and their consorts, sorry. For myself, I am
thankful when there is a comfortable waiting area near the ladies dressing room, and the music is loud enough that I can understand the lyrics. From my experience, you can be there for a very long time.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 02:55 PM

interesting comments. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: JennieG
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 03:24 PM

A few years ago Himself and I listened to a radio program on marketing, and of course the background music is a marketing tool. One statement was "if you don't like the music playing in a shop, you are not the customer that shop wants". Based on that, there aren't too many shops who want me.....or him.

The coolest shop in this town is a local op shop (thrift shop) - their music is usually old hits of the 60s, and it's such a fun place to shop!


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 05:06 PM

If shops play muzak or whatever name you give to the aural wallpaper that assaults your mind and or intelligence then I don't go in.
However, how do I avoid the aural shite that the BBC play behind serious announcements about upcoming programmes on the radio. I wake up to BBC Radio Four and at the end of the day bed down to the same station. Between programmes we get announcements of programmes (and to non UK folks I should say Radio Four is mostly a serious station carrying serious news and documentary programmes)but inevitably while the announcement/trailer is being made there are irritating percussion like noises, random piano notes repeated over and over or something else equally so annoying and distracting that you don't get the message. Who the hell is responsible for this.
Wild life / nature TV programmes are also subject to the same insulting sound tracks (noise). The silence or sound of nature isn't enough. Excellent programmes are ruined by the fact that I keep having to hit the mute button every few minutes.
What is the study that makes people think that natural sound isn't good enough?

Hootenanny


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Uncle Phil
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 05:21 PM

Bad Muzak at stores is pretty irritating all right, but not as irritating as the relentlessly cheerful, upbeat dance music that they play at our neighborhood gym. The psychology behind all the bouncy crap that they play is obvious, I suppose.
- Phil (who always takes his iPod to the gym)


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: michaelr
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 06:43 PM

I seem to remember reading that store muzak is chosen to have tempi close to, or slightly faster than, the human heart rate. Keeps folks comfortable and just a bit excited.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 06:50 PM

I've no idea. I only visit charity/thrift shops, second hand book stores and farm shops or markets. The rest of our shopping is done online. Unless something particular is needed from a specialist store, like an art shop or health food shop and those places never use piped music. So far this year I've racked up exactly 00.00 minutes listening to pumped out jolly jingles - Win!


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: GUEST,CS
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 06:55 PM

Oh, and I'd like to second the poster above re: charity/thrift shop music. I love the funny old eclectic albums those places play - all sorts of obscure fifties and sixties wonders, often by artists who are news to me. Great stuff to listen to while you're rummaging through the slightly creased paperback classics and romertopfs.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 07:31 PM

As Bee-Dubya-Ell says, people who have to work with it all the time become numbed or deaf to it, and mentally switch it off. i was recently waiting to collect my car while a minor repair was being done, and for once, heard a piece of really good music - sort of modern orchestral and choral, so I went and asked the staff what it was. "What music?" they said.
Another time at a festival we were going to start at session in a pub bar, (with the full consent of the management), but they failed to switch off the ambient pop music, and looked a bit surprised when we suggested they might turn it off, as they had become immune to it and didn't even hear it.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Tootler
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 07:37 PM

I did a quick search and found that there are a considerable number of academic papers on the relationship between background music and the behaviour of shoppers. The results generally suggest that background music does have an effect on shoppers but the relationships between the type/style of music and the effect are not simple and are difficult to tease out.

One meta-analysis based on a number of studies came to the following conclusions.

Familiarity/liking has a positive effect on patronage;

  • The mere presence of music has a positive effect on patronage as well as felt pleasure;

  • Slower tempo, lower volume and familiar music results in subjects staying marginally longer at a venue than when the tempo or volume are high, or the music less familiar;

  • A higher volume and tempo, and the less liked the music, the longer customers perceive time duration. This has most implications for waiting customers.

  • Tempo has the greatest effect on arousal.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 10:37 PM

Thanks, Tootler.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 20 Dec 12 - 10:42 PM

Common sense would dictate...

It will be a Blue, Blue Christmas Without You....
I 'll be Home for Christmas
Please Come Home for Christmas


Should not be aired in Newtown for several years.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Sick people ...music is made to be a sculpture in the sands of time....washed away at the next high tide.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Joybell
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 12:58 AM

It has always driven me to the point of madness. It interferes with the music in my head. I'm sure that's the case for a lot of us here. When we lived in a bushy area near Melbourne the local supermarket played a tape (well it was a while back) of birdsong. I miss that. Joy with peace


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 01:14 AM

Usually I don't notice the music in stores unless it's really bad. Recently, a couple of my usual gas stations have remodeled, and they've added very tinny outdoor speakers with music so loud it makes me feel like screaming.

Every once in a while, I'll perk up and notice the music, usually in a grocery store, because it's really fun stuff that I can sing along with. When music like that is playing, everybody in the store seems to be in a good mood. It seems to me that top 40's pop music from the 1960s works very well.

....and I'd enjoy "I'm Not Lisa."

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: GUEST,BobL
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 03:03 AM

Can't find the reference, but I gather playing Mozart in deserted bus stations at night has been found to deter junkies and others undesirables.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 03:30 AM

This is one of my pet subjects!
I would say without doubt, that shops have gone out of business because of their policy of playing loud music!
The main problem is that shop owners/managers don't think the whole shop/music thing through properly.
The reasoning should be:
1) Music lends a certain ambience which creates a good shopping environment.
2) What is a suitable type of music.
3) Then decide a suitable volume for said music?

Unfortunately, most shops seem to stop with number one, and don't consider the type of music or the volume.
And, of course, the term "background music " usually becomes "foreground music".

I also believe that most music is played for the benefit of the staff, rather than the customers!

Indeed, I would suggest that whatever music is played, more customers are going to dislike it - or be neutral about it - than like it.
Like food, we all have very different tastes in music; and you wouldn't want a restaurant deciding exactly what food you HAVE to eat. At the very least. you would want a choice.

The best option is, of course, NO Music!

God Bless, Wetherspoons!


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: GUEST,Gail
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 04:06 AM

JennieG's comment probably sums up my experience. I stopped going into MUJI shops, even though I liked MUJI products, because the only music they play is modern jazz of the most freeform (discordant to my ears) type. That music irritates and distracts me to the extent that I can't shop there. The music is clearly meant to enhance a very particular image of the shop which I don't fit. They think they don't want customers like me, but I'd bet they wish they hadn't driven my money away.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 05:42 AM

Talking of edgy modern jazz, Virgin records used to have a big store in Market St Manchester UK, and to get to the folk music section, one had to walk through a barrage of very loud rock music.
The folk music section, itself, was in a separate room that also housed jazz, world music and country music.
The country music - when I first visited the store - was very well stocked; however, everytime I went into the department they were playing loud and very edgy modern jazz.
Now, I never saw anyone looking at the country music section- never mind buying anything.
Why? Well, I would guess that all that edgy jazz created a very hostile listening environment for your avearage country music fan!
Where do these record shop managers keep their brains?


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 06:40 AM

We're on a tight budget, and Asda has quite keen prices. But my nerves just won't stand the noise of loud music, even louder public address announcements and those ghastly red and yellow prices hanging all over the place. It's a senses overload and I feel like screaming, so we don't shop there any more. The fact is, that whatever music stores play, it can't please everyone. And I feel nowadays, people are used to constant din and musak, and feel quite edgy with pure silence. I've even been driven into St Peter Mancroft, a huge and beautiful old church in Norwich, for a bit of silence in their side chapel, to partake of some peace during shopping trips.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: kendall
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 06:58 AM

I'll bet if everyone complained loudly about that damned racket as I do, they would change it.

I will not pay to be annoyed, and I've walked out of many a store after bitching to the manager.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 07:37 AM

Here's an example how playing any music - even the seemingly inoffensive kind - will irritate people.
A while back, I was in my local Tesco store and they were playing a record by Haley Westenra over the in-house sound system.
Now, Haley has been described as having "the voice of an angel"; however, inspite of that, I overheard a shopper saying "If they don't turn off this caterwauling, I'm going to have to get out of here!"
Well, if "the voice of an angel" gets that sort of reaction, shops really should consider if playing any music is a good idea.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 03:14 PM

To counterbalance my Mrs Grumpyguts post, I have to say that I actually like "Oh I wish it could be Christmas every daaaaay!" and "Are you hanging up your stocking on your wall?..." and my alltime fav, The Pogues ..."In the Drrrunk Tank", just not when I'm trying to find the cheapest spuds and decide if we need some more loo rolls.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 04:33 PM

So now, OK, confession time! how many of us grumps find ourselves singing along out loud to that crap, and getting labelled "weirdo of the shopping mall"?
"And the boys of the NYPD choir were singing Galway bay"

"Joy to the World" - and all fellow Mudcatters!


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 06:02 PM

Joe- At some stations around here, they've gone from music at the gas pumps to video screens, with news clips, hollywood gossip, and ads for the the bad coffee and awful snack foods in the convenience store--the program starts when you pop your card in, a voice greets you, and, when you're done, it thanks you and invites you back. I can't decide if it is oddly comforting or coldly depersonalizing.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: ripov
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 06:09 PM

Never mind the muzak, how does anyone live with the woman whose voice is used in the "milking parlour" self-checkouts?


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Joybell
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 07:05 PM

This time of year I have a way to fight back. Lots of fun too. Go to the toy aisle in the supermaket or the cheap-shop and find the singing animals. Press ALL of the buttons as fast as you can and clear off. The din is wonderful especially if they all sing different Christmas songs. Staff don't know how to stop a grey-haired granny even if they discover her. Other shoppers get a laugh and may even help. I can reach the shelf more easily than a little kid and years of exercise of the fingers can off-set arthritis if you're having this much fun.
Joy Joy Joy


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Tootler
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 07:12 PM

My wife does that.

At this time of year it usually drowns out one of the various "Best Christmas album ever" CDs that are used as muzak at this time of year.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Joybell
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 07:19 PM

Tootler, we could start a revolution. Maybe I could meet your wife in a supermarket somewhere some Chrismas season. I'd like that. Tell her hello from Australia.
Joy


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: GUEST,RENO
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 07:23 PM

A book old but good: THE HIDDEN PERSUADERS by Vance Packard.

Deals with some of these: Why slow music in grocery stores? Why soap packaged in blue and yellow? Why the words FREE and NEW on so many products? Why milk at the back of the store? Why the bakery at the front of the store? Why the highest priced goods at eye level? Why so many candies and pulp magazines at the checkout counter?


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 07:26 PM

Fortunately online shopping has improved to such an extent that we hardly ever have to go to a mall.    Certainly not for Christmas shopping.

On the other hand, I love a lot of the classic Christmas pop music.   I'm quite happy to spend time shopping in Trader Joes or Shoppers Food Warehouse--if they are playing the original hit versions--Brenda Lee' Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, Alan Jackson's version of Holly Jolly Christmas (not the original but we have a Santa figure who sings and dances it), Bing's White Christmas, Eartha Kitt's Santa Baby, Shirelles' Sleigh Ride, Elvis Blue Christmas, Beach Boys' Little St.Nick.etc--for me to sing along with. And I appear to not be the only one in some stores.

There are lots of songs I love to hear this time of year---this is of course not Muzak. And I have to admit that when they throw the lobotomized, synthostuff or punk "music" at me, I leave the store expeditiously--at any time of year.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 21 Dec 12 - 08:01 PM

Oh Joy, Joybell. Can we meet in some really nice place between Scotland and Australia? Plus Tootler and wife?


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Joybell
Date: 22 Dec 12 - 12:41 AM

OK Yes Yes! Let's see Hmmm. That would be Tibet or San Francisco depending on which way we go. Tootler where are you? Tibet would be interesting but we'd stand out.
Ah! I know THROUGH THE MIDDLE. Right under Hawaii.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 22 Dec 12 - 08:45 AM

Location perfect: so long as they've got supermarkets with Muzak and toys there!


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Tootler
Date: 22 Dec 12 - 11:59 AM

Hawaii sounds good. I could go to Hawaii Music Store and buy a sooper dooper new uke :-)

We're some miles south of Tatie Bogle in Middlesbrough, NE England


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Joybell
Date: 22 Dec 12 - 02:34 PM

Great. We'll meet in Hawaii next Christmas. Lots of volcanos we should be able to surface through one of them. We'll bring a uke or buy a new one too.   In the meantime you could probably meet up with each other and get some practice in right there near home.
Good luck. Happy thoughts from south-east Victoria, Australia.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 22 Dec 12 - 03:21 PM

Actually, a hipper take on the basic Muzak idea of instrumental versions of popular music is probably the optimum type of music for use in stores. Vocals tend to polarize listeners into those who like a singer and those who don't. But a piece presented as an instrumental probably won't offend anyone if it's done tastefully. Just replace Muzak's weepy orchestras with competent musicians using instrumentation appropriate to the piece. Or not... I heard s big-band version of Jimi Hendrix's "Third Stone Fom the Sun" a few weeks back that blew me away.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 22 Dec 12 - 07:09 PM

The local Costcutter store near where I live no longer uses any radio station that broadcasts gang culture music which I think was a wise move. There is always going to be someone who will try regardless of music or silence but there had been an upsurge of shoplifting and general bad behaviour with school children and teens. It certainly has had an affect in that case to change the music.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Tootler
Date: 23 Dec 12 - 06:41 AM

You're on, Joybelle.

Your suggested mode of transport reminds me of cartoons when I was a kid when a superhero would suddenly acquire a large drill bit on its head and go boring through the earth at high speed.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 23 Dec 12 - 06:47 AM

Patsy, I'm sure music does affect people's moods and behaviour. I imagine that's why they play calming stuff in lifts, for those with a bit of claustraphobia. Sadly, I'm one of those nerds who prefer total silence much of the time, even at home. When I used to go to pubs, I was driven mad by the loud and awful (to me) music, which included the Smurfs, at 100 decibels. I wished there was a 'silent' disc on the jukebox. I'd have put a poundsworth in to enjoy my pint in peace!


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 23 Dec 12 - 05:08 PM

Joybell, I've missed out! I was in Victoria in October! Tootler, i may have met you then if you go to any of the Borders festivals!


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 23 Dec 12 - 06:27 PM


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 23 Dec 12 - 06:33 PM

Sorry, a glitch caused that previous blank post.

I agree with Tunesmith that "background music" usually becomes "foreground music", and I dislike almost all of it. Even on the rare occasions when the music is a kind that I don't dislike, I still resent having it inflicted on me.

Sometimes I walk into a shop and straight out again because of the din.

But I have a solution, for the occasions when I really want to look round and find what I want to buy -- earplugs.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Dec 12 - 07:15 PM

Been there, done that!

To cut through the speculation about deep-laid plots, my first job in radio was working as an announcer/disc jockey for an "easy-listening" radio station in Seattle. The station, owned by an outfit called "Marketcasters, Inc.," had studios in Seattle's Edgewater Inn, a big hotel down on the waterfront (the Beatles and the Tijuana Brass stayed there while they were in Seattle).

Anybody with an FM radio could tune the station in, but it was especially beamed into supermarkets and shopping malls in the listening area, and to get some extra features, such as not hearing me do the news ever hour, or playing commercials that they didn't want, they had to pay a fee to subscribe to the station. To stores that subscribed, when I flipped a switch on the board, it cut out the volume in the stores.

Anyway, the selection of the music was up to me, not to any mysterious cabal of marketing psychologists. I had a few rules to follow, but they were hardly of a suspicious nature. Almost all instrumental music. The music library consisted of well-known bands and combos, or instrumentalists like the piano duo of Ferrante and Teicher or Billy Vaughan. Seque (follow) one piece immediately with another so there was no audible break. Only one vocal per quarter-hour, and that would be someone like Jo Stafford or Johnny Mathis. No announcing titles (for an announcer, it was an easy job).

How loud the stores played the music was up to them. I had no control over that.

The whole point was just to supply pleasant background music to shoppers. No deep-laid plots.

I went through a couple of radio jobs (including three months at a rocker) before I landed a job in a classical music station, where I was able to do some genuine announcing, talk about the music, read some news and commercials, and such. Long cuts—whole symphonies, or operas where I was able to do the Milton Cross thing and give the plots of the operas being played. Most of the time I was able to sit back with a cup of coffee, listen to music that I enjoyed, and get paid quite well!

Other than singing, this was the best job I ever had!

But the background music thing? I worked at TWO stations that did background music for stores (one in Seattle, as described, the other in Pasco, Washington), and there was no council of marketing psychologists involved.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 23 Dec 12 - 09:52 PM

Don -

Do you have any insight...regarding who and how the "residuals " for air playtime were handled?

A published book, magazine article...or broadcast studio guideline?

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

I have no vested music interests...however, this is a field of great musical "lore and speculation"...even among "pros."


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Dec 12 - 10:54 PM

I'm afraid not, Gargoyle. That wasn't my department.

What I can say is that once a year for two weeks the disc-jockey/announcers were required to keep a list of the records we played. Then we'd turn the lists over to the program director or station manager, and they took it from there. I knew this was ASCAP and BMI wanting to keep track of what gets played, but that's about all I ever learned about it.

I wish now I'd asked a whole lot more questions. Sorry!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Stanron
Date: 24 Dec 12 - 07:38 AM

Don't forget that most supermarkets have a complaints/customer service desk.

I went to a nearby Tesco superstore last week and complained about the incessant ear splitting puerile 60s Xmas pop. I pointed out that as I was in my mid 60s I had been listening to the same stuff at the same time of year for 40 odd years and was thoroughly fed up with it and could it please be replaced by some Handel oratorio stuff or Palestrina, Tallis or Byrde or similar.

The flustered teenager behind the counter wasn't writing any of this down so I don't supposed it reached anyone who actually makes decisions but I felt better and next time I went in the music was nearly inaudible.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: GUEST,999
Date: 24 Dec 12 - 05:05 PM

"Psychology of background music in stores"

It helps cover up the sound of gunfire.


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Subject: RE: Psychology of background music in stores
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Dec 12 - 07:57 PM

I work in a charity bookshop, and often get to pick the music we play. I have often played Palestrina (I find Handel too tub-thumping on the whole) and sometimes used the music to get rid of unwelcome customers (like cranking up King Oliver to 11 to make it impossible for a customer to use us as a phone booth with her mobile).

I really wanted to use this one this year:

Douglas Leedy: A Very Merry Electric Christmas to You

but I couldn't find anywhere to buy it. Supposed to be on iTunes but I couldn't find it.


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