Modernizing Music in the Food and Beverage Industry

It’s hard to picture a restaurant setting without background music. For many restaurateurs, the benefits have been clear for decades now—but is background music on its own still enough to enhance the guest experience at your bar or restaurant? 

Well, yes and no.

Expertly curated playlists suited to your target demographic’s tastes still has the potential to make a positive impact on your patrons. It can complement your dishes, establish atmosphere, lessen guests’ social anxiety, mask the ambient noise of a busy business, and so much more.

Today, however, background music is more or less expected in a casual-dining experience.

So then, the question becomes: is your aim to simply meet guests’ expectations, or do you want to exceed them? This article is for those who want to take their venue’s entertainment to the next level and make a lasting impression on visitors. We’re going to breakdown the how’s and whys of a modern music experience in the food and beverage industry and teach you what it takes to exceed customer expectations in this way. 


The easy way out…

Small neighborhood bars and pubs may be fine with tossing on a local radio station and letting that dictate their venue’s atmosphere. Depending on the amount of TV screens and speakers in the location, as well as the square footage (3,750 or less), there’s a good chance of avoiding the cost of music licensing fees for public performance. For other hospitality venues, however, there are a lot of copyright complications that come with playing music publicly. 

What you definitely don’t want to do is ignore licensing fees with the hopes that you don’t get dinged for thousands of dollars in lawsuits. 

But even if you do decide to just pay each Performing Rights Organization (PRO) to play the radio—it’s not doing you any favors. The songs themselves may get repetitive, but what’s worse are the ads—possibly your competitor’s ads—playing after 3 or 4 tracks. 

This is why many have ditched the old and signed up with the new. Streaming services offer ways to include licensing fees in their subscriptions as well as varied and uninterrupted music playlists.

Streaming music services in the modern age

A common misconception with streaming services is that you could simply play your own Pandora or Spotify playlists from your phone in your bar or restaurant. Again, this is ignoring public performance music licensing. You’d have to find and subscribe separately to the business-specific versions of these apps. 

But beyond licensing, there are other disadvantages to some of these music streaming services—even with their business-specific counterparts. 

For one, it’s either going to be a random slew of songs that don’t always suit the ambiance and guest experience you’ve designed, or it’s going to be a large time suck. Overseeing and operating the day-to-day functions of your business is busy enough without having to create playlists and keeping them updated and varied. Your time is better spent with staff and guests, maintaining the culture and consistency of your brand, as well as the comfort and care of your patrons (what we call the 4 C’s of the Ultimate Guest Experience). 

Additionally, music tastes are clearly subjective, but your business should be suiting the wants of your guests and not those of your staff. The ability to restrict access to your music selection is a valuable asset so you can maintain brand consistency and personalize the guest experience to your target demographic. 

Control Play provides a music streaming service that counteracts all of these disadvantages. Licensing can be covered in subscriptions, but even just the benefits of having a professional music mixologist helping you craft your brand make it step-up from any imitators. Our music-obsessed playlist curators work specifically with bars and restaurants to ensure the right songs for the right people at the right time. New music is added daily so you don’t have to keep up with the charts, staff can be restricted as much or as little as you prefer, and maybe best of all, you can get back to your real work.

Using personalized playlists in your bar or restaurant definitely kicks up your venue’s vibe a notch—but there are ways to take it even further and really exceed the expectations of your guests.

Music videos for restaurants and bars

Adding music videos is an incredibly effective tool in modernizing music in the food and beverage industry. While background music can still do the trick—when the time is taken to organize and update playlists—reviving your venue’s audio/video experience with a system that provides the entertainment your customers want really differentiates your brand from the competition. 

Incorporating your music into the video element of your business has so many benefits. We’ll go through 5 noteworthy ones in this section:

1. Create an atmosphere that combines sights and sounds
There is a huge variety of music videos out there, but they all have one obvious thing in common: the visuals fit the song. It’s like having moving art on your walls that people take notice of and can tap their toes to! Establishing this atmosphere contributes to a sensory experience that define your venue as more than just great food. 

2. Provide content your customers are actively consuming
The research from Vevo—the world’s largest music video streaming site—shows that 97 million people in the US alone are watching music videos monthly. The average amount of user time spent watching the videos is 1.1 billion hours, and they get 25 million viewers daily. The medium is possibly more popular than ever!  

3. Stop wasting screens
You’ve probably got TV screens set to sports stations for when the game is on, but what are you doing when there isn’t a game playing? Maybe the news? Regardless, all-too-often we see muted TVs with announcers’ talking heads for a while before it cuts to commercials. Even if you’re a big fan of the station, there’s not much value in watching, not hearing, a conversation unfold or having to read the captions.  

4. No more competitor commercials
Sitting in a restaurant and watching a commercial for some other restaurant is a slice of irony we could all do without. In fact, regardless of the ad being for a competitor of yours or not, subjecting guests to long spans of network TV commercials is borderline cruel. With seamless, back-to-back music videos, there are no such annoying interruptions.

Truly modernize your guest experience

We’re in a digital age where video is more abundant than ever—and with more and more millennials “cutting the cord” of cable television, the modern consumer demands more than basic entertainment. They want uninterrupted, HD-quality video that’s convenient and engaging. Of course, you’re not going to stream Netflix or YouTube in your restaurant, which is why the short length and visual variety of music videos work so well. 

However you decide to modernize the music in your bar or restaurant, Control Play can help. Curating music video playlists specifically for bars and restaurants is our specialty! We can even take it further by providing digital signage in your music video system so you can put up your ads when eyes are on the screens.  

Learn all about what we can provide and even see our service in action by scheduling a live demo today!

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Kevin Avram

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