The Emotional Power of Music

Music has a particular power to enhance life experiences. There’s a reason you love a driving beat as the soundtrack to your workout, or always play classic jazz in the background at a dinner party. Well-chosen music complements the context in which it’s played, stimulating the appropriate emotions for the moment. Those emotions can be strong and hard to shake, precisely because we involuntarily associate certain genres or styles of music with a setting and range of expectations. By way of example, consider this YouTube clip demonstrating how your understanding of a single movie scene changes completely depending upon its background score.

Music also influences actions that flow from the emotions it generates. You’d swear that workout mix actually makes you feel more energetic and that the jazz compilation really does mellow out your dinner guests. Which is why when a music choice doesn’t fit the context, the results can be unsettling at best, and ruinous at worst. If you swap your workout and dinner party soundtracks with each other, it’s likely neither will feel quite right. But, if instead, you drown out your guests by blaring death metal through dinner, people will get upset, they’ll leave, and you might even lose friends.

What Happens When You Don’t Choose The Right Business Music?

As a business owner, the music you choose for your business setting is no less influential or important. For one thing, the wrong music choice can be costly and embarrassing. In 2013, for example, McDonald’s made unwanted headlines in one of the United Kingdom’s biggest newspapers when it was forced to apologize publicly for playing explicit rap music at one of its restaurants. The incident was the result of an innocent error. One of the crew members at the store had connected his personal music device to the store’s music system after closing time the night before, and it was still connected the next morning when the store opened. But that explanation did not spare McDonald’s the bad press and distraction.

Less-than-innocent song selections can also wreak havoc. In 2016, the Chicago Cubs faced an ugly public relations mess when someone in their music department played star pitcher Aroldis Chapman off the field at the end of an inning to the sounds of “Smack My Bitch Up” by The Prodigy. The song was not just obviously inappropriate for the family-friendly confines of Wrigley Field, it was made all the more so by the fact that Chapman had served a thirty-day suspension earlier in the season for domestic violence allegations.

The cases of McDonald’s and the Cubs illustrate the lesson that it is critical to calibrate music choices to connect with the market segment your business serves. Of course, it seems self-evident that while explicit rap and electronic dance music have their place in popular culture, they’re not the right choice for establishments that position themselves as family-oriented operations. But, selecting music for your business is not just about preventing highly embarrassing errors and mischief!

Maximize the Potential of Business Music

To maximize the potential of business music, avoiding embarrassment is just the tip of the iceberg. Think back to the YouTube clip linked above. None of the musical selections plugged into the scene seem wholly inappropriate. But, each conveys a different message about the actions we’re watching. The original score communicated a sense of adventure and excitement, perfect for appealing to the PG-13 demographic at the core of the movie’s audience. Other scores, in contrast, could have appealed to an older audience, or an audience skewed to a certain gender or taste, and so on.

To get the most out of your music selections, as a business owner you must consider the nature of your core demographic, and then explore how your music choices speak to that segment. Does your business music attract and hold the customers you most want to reach? Does it set a mood conducive to driving sales or customer engagement? Does it inspire particular behavior or emotions? Only when your music choices are driven by and line up with these business-driven insights can you be sure that the songs or other content you have playing on the sound system is serving your business purposes.

Contact Mixhits Radio For Your Business Music Needs!

At Mixhits Radio, we specialize in helping business leaders select a curated playlist of music and other content to target their specific customer profiles. To learn more about how we can help you not just avoid the embarrassment of playing the wrong music, but also to use just the right music to fine-tune how your business connects with its market, contact us today.