Listen Up

June 1998


Listen Up

Background music is top-of-mind for many consumers

Listen Up Background music is top-of-mind for many consumers Everyone knows the purpose of store background music is to create a subliminal invitation to linger and browse. It's a subtle ingredient of a store's ambiance - little noted when it's heard nor long remembered afterward.

Hardly. There's evidence that customers pay far more attention to the music they hear in stores than conventional wisdom suggests and that background music can play a crucial role in establishing a retailer's identity in consumers' minds.

That evidence is the astonishing number of consumers who buy recordings of retailers' piped-in music. Albums of Victoria's Secret background music account for five of the 11 classical albums that have sold more than 1 million copies in this country. The dozen different CDs sold at Old Navy clothing stores have aroused so much interest the retailer has installed listening booths so customers can sample them before buying. Other retailers with CD racks at the registers include Pottery Barn, Eddie Bauer and Banana Republic.

Retailers who sell the recordings do so in part because of the 70% or higher margins they provide and their minimal space requirements. But the real benefit is elsewhere, says an executive at the Seattle-based in-store music company AEI Music, quoted in the Financial Times. "For many of our clients, the margins are considered secondary to the benefits of having their signature sound in the customer's home," the executive said. "It really is a unique way for retailers to extend their brand name and their brand identity into the homes of their customers."

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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