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Inside the booming business of background music

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/nov/06/inside-the-booming-business-of-background-music

theguardian.com

Inside the booming business of background music
Not long ago, Rob Wood found himself at Heston Blumenthal's house, in south-west London, where he was being persuaded to eat a flower. They were supposed to have been discussing the TV chef's latest project, testing music's effects on the dining experience, for which he had hired Wood to pick the songs.

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Background music is powerful

Background music is powerful

Even if you are hardly aware of it, music can be surprisingly powerful.

Researchers have found that it can affect:

  • how much time we think has passed while waiting
  • how co-operative shoppers are with sales staff
  • how sweet or bitter food tastes
  • what you will purchase. (One study found that shopper's preference for German or French wine shifted according to what traditional music was playing at the time.)

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The background music industry

It is also known as music design, music consultancy, or as part of a broader package of experiential design or sensory marketing.

The work involves creating distinct,  compatible musical identities for brands.

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Muzak and background music

Muzak, a brand of background music, set the template for background music. It played in retail stores and other commercial premises and sold itself on the basis that it could increase productivity in workplaces. 

Muzak's template for background music persisted for decades. The music was a balm to ease awkward silences and to encourage and brighten the mood.

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Effects music can have on us

  • The physical effect. We subconsciously match what we are doing to what we hear. One study found that diners chewed at a faster pace when higher-tempo music was played.
  • Associations that music can trigger and how our environment can affect those associations. Diners are willing to spend more when classical music is played. Researchers suggest it is because classical music is associated with quality.

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High-street businesses as an experience

Shops are no longer just a functional place to buy things in. In the face of competition from online retailers, many high-street businesses can provide their customers with more than just satisfying their basic needs: They can repackage shops as an experience, using the marketing power of sound that is accessible through online music libraries.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Western pop music

A research team looked at more than 17,000 songs from the US Billboard Hot 100 and found three music revolutions - in 1964, 1983, and 1991.

The researchers looked at the di...

Stylistic revolutions

  • In the 1960s, the radical new rocky sound emerged from the Beatles to the Rolling Stones.
  • The minor seventh chords were introduced through funk, soul, and disco in the 1970s.
  • In the 1980s, there was a blip where the introduction of arena rock meant that music lacked diversity.
  • New technology, synthesizers, samplers, and drum machines marked the second major style shift in 1983.
  • In 1991, rap and hip-hop went mainstream. This revolution doesn't use a lot of harmonies. Emphasis is on speech sounds and rhythm.

Health Benefits Of Music

Health Benefits Of Music

Music has been shown to play a role in healing our bodies and increasing our health and happiness. Studies show that music relieves pain in patients, and also relieves stress and anxiety...

Limitations in the Findings About Music

  • There is still ambiguity if listening to or playing the music causes the benefits.
  • It is not known if stimulating or relaxing music is doing the healing.
  • It is not known if the music is the person’s favourite music or of his liking, as opposed to something chosen by the experimenter.
  • There are several other factors like a group playing vs individual playing of music, or a large random trial, which needs to be looked at in the future

Sesame Street

Sesame Street

Before Sesame Street, music wasn't even considered as a means to teach children. But Sesame Street changed that and proved that kids are very receptive to a grammar lesson contained in a song.

Musical stars

Big-name stars lined up to make guest appearances. Stevie Wonder and Grover; Loretta Lynn and the Count; Smokey Robinson and a marauding letter U. "Sesame Street" also showcased Afro-Caribbean rhythms, operatic powerhouses, Latin beats, Broadway showstoppers, and bebop.

Now, after 4,526 episodes, the legacy is evident: It impacted the music world as much as it shaped TV history, inspiring fans and generations of artists.

The goal

The aim of "Sesame Street" was to build school preparedness and narrow the educational gap between lower- and upper-income children.

They used pedagogy advice from a Harvard professor. Research also showed children were more receptive when they watched with caregivers, so celebrities were introduced.

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