Mike Sponza, Music and Licensing Director at M-Cube talks to A1 Retail about the importance of getting the music right in your shop or store.

Music has always been a significant element in the retail world. It is a fundamental engagement tool which develops the brand-customer relationship. Therefore it is an integral part of the point of sale.

Choosing the right music to match brand identity 

Curating the perfect soundtrack is a very creative process, requiring deep musical knowledge, from the technical side to the historical. For example, a word could relate to a song that was written at a certain period of time, by a certain group of people, and this could either be connected to the brand or resonate with a specific audience group.

Choosing the right music to match the brand is one thing. Then there’s striking the balance between the three different personas that listen to the shop music: the marketing office, the customers and the employees of the store. The music has to express the brand, but always in the framework of catering to these three different listeners with three different needs.

With this strategy implemented, it’s then a case of generating fresh music every week to keep all the stakeholders happy; just as trends are constantly evolving, shop music has to match this. It’s a constant process.

The legal considerations involved in using music in retail 

There’s always a balancing act that takes place between law and music.

To play any music in public or in a business, live or recorded, you need a music licence. In the UK this is called ‘TheMusicLicence’. Costs vary depending on the venue and how you are using the music; for the retail world, these charges would fall under the ‘Shops & Stores’ sector category.

When setting up or building a small business in particular, considerations like a music licence may fall under the radar, but are fundamental for both your business and the music world.

The positive impact on the customer and employee experience

The music is strictly connected to the brand, its products, its environment and, therefore, the overall shopping experience.

For customers, music has the power, even in a passive way, to sway decisions, draw them to products and embolden a lasting relationship with the brand. Customers may stay longer in shops—even unknowingly—because they’re enjoying the music (and vice versa if they don’t like it). For employees, playing the right songs can trigger an upswing in morale and help productivity, enjoyment and motivation. The shop is a shared environment and, consequently, it becomes a shared experience.

By analysing what songs generate a reaction from staff and customers at different times, be that time of day, seasons and in relation to wider social events and trends, you can devise a strategy that sparks an engaging experience.

The soundtrack to the customer experience

Music, if successfully harnessed, can elevate your marketing strategy. By translating marketing into musical language you can solidify brand identity and create an impactful, lasting customer experience.


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May 2024 issue

2024 A1 Buyers Guide