Why nobody worries about putting good music in restaurants (although they would earn more money)

"Strawberry lips taste of love, passion fruit pulp". The verses of the nasty but ultra-catchy hit of Invisible Dance They resonate relentlessly in my head.

The fault lies with the restaurant under the house, which He has not changed his playlist all summer. Every night, without exception, around 11 pm, it is time to suffer that milestone of pop lyric, which compares the eyes of a girl with a mussel, in an ecstasy of culinary passion.

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It seems the worst unimaginable torture, but it's not the worst thing that happened to me when it comes to restaurant music. In China we had to suffer dinner while the same song was playing in a loop, and again. How could people eat happily without altering?

Tired of listening to horrible music in his favorite restaurant, Ryuichi Sakamoto offered to make the playlists

It is true that the public of a restaurant does not usually repeat every day and, in honor of the truth, Almost nobody notices what is playing. But I am not the only one to whom indifference to music, when not bad taste, is annoying.

The Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto He came to ask the owner of a restaurant in New York, where he lives, to change the music he put on meals, as it was unbearable. As he told The New York Times, Sakamoto, once the leader of the Yellow Magic Orchestra and famous composer of movie soundtracks, offered to elaborate playlist of the establishment, without charging anything change, as long as you can continue to eat at ease.

Ryuichi Sakamoto

The tyranny of Spotify and YouTube

As the journalist correctly pointed out Ben Ratliff, the truth is that the popularization of the services of streaming far from making music in restaurants better, it is making it worse, or at least Be much less varied.

Why think of the music that I want to play in my restaurant if I can play a list of great hits, easy jazz or, directly, selections baptized as "songs for bars"?

Most restaurants don't even bother to play music

Music is a part of the atmosphere of a restaurant. But the attention paid to this seems inversely proportional to what is spent on dishes or decoration.

It doesn't seem strange to anyone to hire a interior designer To make a restaurant more pleasant, but many owners seem not to care that it is the first one who passes by there to put the songs that sound during the services. And in most restaurants they don't even bother to play music: total, it's an unnecessary expense (you have to pay the SGAE), which doesn't generate any benefits. But in the latter they are wrong.

The better music, the more expense

There are many studies, published since the 70s, that show that a selection of music according to the atmosphere and the target audience of a restaurant You can significantly increase the average ticket.

As the professor at the University of New South Wales explained, Stephanie Wilson, in one of the latest research carried out in this regard - a study published in 2003 in the journal Psychology of Music-, there are several reasons why It is worth being careful in the musical selection.

First, the results suggest that restaurant and store owners can use music to create a specific atmosphere that distinguishes the environment from competitors. The results also suggest that establishments that play backward or sophisticated music may charge higher prices. In general, the absence of music had the most negative effect on the atmosphere and the amount of money customers were willing to spend.

This does not mean that a restaurant will be lined by putting the latest news recommended by the magazine Wirebut yes one most daring musical selection, or at least more careful, cache a restaurant.

Most people don't notice the music, but for those who look, it can be decisive in the experience And the rest is not going to bother them.

How to choose the music of your restaurant

While most restaurants don't care about music, yes the big chains do, whose musical thread is more than studied by the experts of marketing.

A study by McDonald's concluded that the most profitable is to play music that diners do not recognize

Alberto of the Chamber is key account manager from LIVIT, a company that designs the 360º experience of major restoration brands such as VIPS, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell or Burger King, and it is clear that music has an important weight in the billing of a restaurant: “Music influences not only in product experience, but also in sales, because people's behavior varies. ”

The Chamber tells us about a study that McDonald's He performed in several of his restaurants in a Nordic country. In one of them they put the top 100 of the country, totally recognizable music, and the average sales fell about 8%. In another restaurant there was no music: sales were not affected. In another music was put according to the values ​​of the brand and sales rose 3%. But when they rose the most, about 7%, is when Brand music mixed in 10% with recognizable local music.

“What it does to have unrecognizable music is that focus more on food and in the conversation, ”explains De la Cámara, which, in the long run, increases the ticket means, medium.

But, of course, the strategy of each restaurant must adapt to its brand image. One of the biggest mistakes made when selecting music in public spaces, according to Sakamoto explains in the Times, is entrust everything to random song programming, which is the best way to make a site lack personality, but also that the music ends up being annoying.

To choose a good soundtrack for the restaurant you have to avoid the more aggressive styles, but also change what sounds with some frequency

If, for example, the 60's jazz is playing all the time, the selection you may like more or less, but it will not sound raucous. The problem is that, as in the restaurant frequented by the Japanese composer, skips Miles Davis, to Brazilian pop and from there to American folk. A good musical selection must be varied, but it must also make sense. Going from one style to another to the crazy can be strident, and this is the last effect we look for in a restaurant.

LIVIT outsources the development of playlists to external companies, which design these according to the attributes of each brand: as identified with values ​​such as “conservative”, “urban”, “contemporary” or “classic”.

An algorithm selects the songs according to these attributes from a huge list of songs, but they don't trust everything to mathematics: Ultimately there is a team of DJs that makes the final choice of songs, and is responsible for updating what sounds in restaurants.

What you should never do

A fashion that has been imposed in recent years in numerous restaurants is to put sweetened versions of rock classics, whose original recordings would not pass the filter of what is considered for all audiences. This violates the two basic rules cited by the Chamber: they are recognizable tunes, but they do not convey any identity.

Groups like Nouvelle Vague -which interpret punk hits and the new wave in terms of bossa nova- or Richard Cheese -which does the same in version rockabilly- have become the Kenny G of our time; but at least the good one of G did not destroy other people's songs. These artists may seem like a great choice - it's well-known music, but in a "quiet" version - but it's alfalfa to music: it can only be given to animals.

Actually, there are only a few common sense rules to follow when designing the musical atmosphere of a restaurant, without requiring any external company: we must avoid too aggressive styles -he trash metal It is not intended to enjoy a meal-, change lists frequently, so as not to bore the parishioners or the neighbors; and don't go easy, playing songs that are too familiar.

What reason is there to put Satisfaction, Brown Sugar or Angie again and again?

For the rest, just choose one music that matches the proposal of the venue and its audience, But have personality. A good idea is to do the opposite of what Rock FM does: opt for less known songs from known groups. Of the 373 songs that the Rolling StonesWhat reason is there to put again and again Satisfaction, Brown sugar or Angie? Given that Beatles they recorded 228 songs and they are almost all good What demonic entity drives a human being to prick Yellow Submarine umpteenth? From Imagine We don't even talk anymore.

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When designing a playlist Sakamoto goes further, thinking, for example, that the tone of the music married to that of the atmosphere of the place - his first choice, he explains, was too dark for a restaurant that is otherwise very bright. But You don't even have to spin so thin.

I am satisfied that someone who has bought more than ten albums in his life, other than singers from Triumph operation, put, short, the music you like best; or, failing that, ask for help from someone who has a minimum of taste or, at least, curiosity. It is not so much to ask.

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