Let the music play… and we won’t go away!

Remember my last post about „Music, Moods, and Marketing“? Well, I actually thought that the theory just isn’t enough and that I wanted to get a more detailed insight of how music and the right atmosphere work to improve customer satisfaction and therefore increase the probability of guest coming back to that place (which eventually leads to higher sales).

The Background
So I thought the best example would be my favorite restaurant at the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin since I go there regularly with friends and know the place inside out. Before doing that I did a little background search on the restaurant’s homepage and found out that they are a restaurant chain which can be found 37 times in 32 cities of Germany. Their goal is not only to serve the right culinary treats in a nice atmosphere but also to deliver communication and cheerfulness.

What’s It Like Right Now?
In my personal opinion they have been doing quite a good job so far. Every time I went there I felt being welcomed and was offered a nice treatment – which of course should be one of the topmost targets in such a business environment. Furthermore it is quite popular and usually crowded at around 6 pm which doesn’t interfere with the atmosphere. The place is especially liked by tourists since it is located in the heart of Berlin.

Behind the Scenes
But lets get into business: After having been there so many times I asked myself “who is responsible for the music?”, “Who decides which music to play?” and “is the same music played over and over again?”. Well, what I did was asking and this is what I found out:
Every half a year a compilation of 4000 different songs is sent to every restaurant in Germany from the headquarters. The songs are collected in around 15 play lists. These lists include compilations such as

•    Good Morning
•    Bar Lounge
•    Dinnertime
•    Weekend Groves



and many more. Moreover the employees have a more or less strict guideline of when to play the music. “Good morning” for example should be played Monday thru Saturday for breakfast, “Bar Lounge” when it is relatively empty and to conclude the evening.
Interesting, isn’t it? Did you actually know that some restaurants (and also other businesses) make such huge efforts? I was rather impressed when I learned about all these things.

Further Places of Action
Of course, this is just one example. There are a lot more out there. If you look at this post you find many more uses of music in business, such as the “on hold music” on the phone, when customers have to patiently wait for service or the background music in shops and stores that keep customers entertained while waiting in line.
Another author also emphasizes the importance of choosing the right music for your business in his post “Overhead Music Should Be Chosen Carefully By Stores” he explains that it is essential to look at the target groups. To give an example, if a store sells clothes to teenagers they probably wouldn’t do much good in choosing classic music to be played.

The Plan
After having read this post everyone should be aware of the effects music has on people. A business about to enter the market or already in the market should always think about how to most effectively use music as means of marketing and really put some serious thinking in whom they want to attract, how they want to attract and at what time they want to attract.

Leave a comment


  1. Interesting!! I’ve thought a lot of times about the music in both restaurant and clothing stores since I’m the kind of person that always dances and sings along to the music. I therefore liked how you explained how the music ends up in the restaurants and how strict the rules are for when you can play what. How do the businesses actually decide on what to play? You mentioned that the headquarter for this specific restaurant is in charge of chosing the music but how do they do that? Even in different age groups there are different tastes in music. Is there a general list of music preferences for different age groups?

  2. juliajogs

     /  January 18, 2012


    Thank you for that nice post. I always enjoy reading your post since they are well written in a narrative way but also contain a lot of interesting content. Thus, the way you are presenting your ideas is great and (in my point of view) completely fulfills the idea of story telling by Nancy Duarte. I also recognized that you applied the Toyota A3 model structuring you post, but you did it in your own way, which I appreciate a lot.
    You know, I remember from your last post that you wrote about music used in marketing campaigns and that you now tried to develop this topic in this post. What I think would be really interesting is how companies like Coca Cola, Vodafone or Apple (who always choose very popular, recognizable and affecting songs) choose the songs for their marketing campaigns and what impact this companies intent to make on their consumers. Is it just the music? Or is it the overall package that creates a life style that we automatically connect with the brand. I found that blog post, that very interestingly points out http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110622045135.htm that choosing the right music is crucial for a marketing campaign of a brand, which makes it identifiable.

    Do you think it would be worth a blog post? Because I think there is much more behind all the things you just mentioned in latest posts.

  3. Hi Saskia,
    I haven’t read one of your posts yet but I must say this one was really catchy!
    Actually I figured out in the end that you are using the A3-model because you did it in such a clever and adapted (as Julia already mentioned) way, that there was a red threat through your whole text and it was not the case that the reader thought that you obsessively tried to connect it to your topic.
    When I read your post I also had to think about going out clubbing. Theyre playing shitty, pardon my wording, music when they want everyone to leave. Quite impressive to express such an impolite statement through music 🙂
    After all, well done!!

  4. Well written. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Marius

     /  February 11, 2012

    Hi Saskia,
    it seems like I am just reading one post fo you after another…Well, what can I say? Music…
    I clearly see how these two posts relate to each other., Haven’t you thought about combining them to one? Since this was one is just more detailed, I think it would have enriched the post before that to include that information. But well, you have made your choice and you probably had your reasons for it.
    Katharina has worked in several restaurants and she told me that she hated to work at morning the music being so lame. So, I already knew about it. It is interesting to realize that we are subconsciously influenced by the music as we only spend a short time at one place while people continuously being there are immune against it. I think the criteria you mentioned are very interesting and I would have liked to learn more about that!
    Check this out:http://onelifeceremonies.co.uk/funeral-blog/index.php/2011/01/music-for-a-funeral-ceremony-funeral-service/
    It might be a very specific example (music for a funeral) but I think it explains the process of choosing music very well.

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