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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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.

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.

  • 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.
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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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 by decreasing blood pressure, steadying the heart rate, and easing stress.

Music can boost our immune system functioning by increasing the growth hormones while decreasing stress hormones. Various studies have linked music to happiness and pleasure in a variety of ways.

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Playing the right music in the office motivates staff.

When you're concentrating, you'll want calmer, more relaxing music. At the end of the day, when you're feeling tired, you'll desire more upbeat music.

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.

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