Creating Great Playlists for Your Restaurant

Music is the elusive pulse of any restaurant experience. You want people to remember how they felt as they enjoyed your establishment—and music plays a significant role in influencing our emotions. Take the time to curate a positive music experience for your guests without being a trained DJ. Luckily, you can bring the beat to your business with online music streaming services.

It’s easy to kick up the tunes. Here are some important pointers as you get started:

Be sure to license music for commercial use

Creating a great playlist for your restaurant is different from making playlists for your block party. You can’t just plug in a phone and stream Spotify or Apple Music. In fact, it’s illegal. The first step in creating a great playlist for your restaurant is to make sure that you abide by copyright laws and secure licensing agreements with artists.

Use commercial streaming services like:

These services ensure that the music you play is legal for commercial use. Just like Spotify and Pandora, the choices are massive. Find all kinds of curated playlists, or create your own. You can have a very professional solution at an affordable monthly rate. Most offer free trials for new users. To stream, connect a computer, tablet or smartphone and have a strong internet connection.

Play royalty-free songs from online libraries

Royalty-free music sites are filled with tracks that filmmakers and videographers often use for their productions. It takes some more work to create your own playlists than using streaming services, but it can give you an interesting sound. Worth checking out if you’re a serious music aficionado and can’t find what you want from a streaming service.

Make your business sound like your business

Now for the exciting part: Be your brand’s DJ. Just like a world-class disc jockey on the ones and twos in a club, you can put together a specific vibe. Have you ever noticed people stopping to listen when a song comes on that they like? And they start singing along, even if it’s in the produce aisle of the supermarket? That’s what you want. When creating your playlists, think about the following:

  • Genre. Rock? Hip-hop? Classical? There are more than 1,000 genres of music, ranging from the popular, like rock and hip-hop, to the obscure, like nu dark swing and motorik. To make the best decision on what type of music to play at your establishment, lean on the information you already have about your customers. Are they trendy 20-somethings in search of something new? Professionals looking to chill out? Choose genres that appeal to your clientele and align with your brand.
  • Tempo. Customers’ responses to varying tempos of music have been widely researched by marketers and behavioral economists. According to research published by the American Marketing Association, uptempo music caused supermarket shoppers to move quickly through a store and purchase fewer items while downtempo music resulted in them buying more. The study found that sales were 38% higher on days when stores played slower background music.
  • Stability. You curated the perfect business playlist—don’t let anything stop the beat! Nothing’s worse than 10 minutes of dead air as you try to bring your device back online. You want your playlists to keep customers in the moment. Make sure you have the bandwidth to support commercial streaming services in addition to your other connected services.
  • Variation. When Spotify introduced their Discover Weekly playlists, curated to introduce 30 new songs every week, a bug in their algorithm initially let songs through that had already been heard by users. When Spotify fixed the bug, engagement with the playlists decreased because listeners enjoyed having the mix of new and familiar listening. It’s wise to keep an eye on new music playlists and trickle a few new songs into your business playlist to keep things fresh.

Once you’ve built a great business playlist, be sure you have the right hardware, too. Stream music from any device, either directly through an auxiliary sound system input or through connected Wi-Fi speakers. And then share your playlists. Make them available to your customers to download through your social media. Keep your brand of music flowing.

Product and service features may have changed and are subject to change.

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