Background Music Strategy
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Beyond the Beat: A Deep Dive into the Psychology of Music
by Ryan Santangelo, Ph.D., Co-Founder & CEO, Dynamic Media
Music psychology is a fascinating field that has real-world impacts for businesses. Music profoundly affects our emotions, thoughts and behaviors, directly influencing how customers act in an establishment. The psychology of music studies these effects and provides essential insights into customer actions. Businesses that want to enhance the customer experience — and boost profits — wisely pay attention to the interplay between music and psychology.
This article will explore the psychology behind music, including the neurological and psychological effects of music on the brain. We’ll also examine how businesses can put these concepts to best use.
The Neurological Effects of Music
Before looking at music psychology, let’s discuss the neurological effects of music. Music interacts with the brain in numerous ways. It activates the auditory cortex in your temporal lobes and the brain’s motor system. Music affects nearly every area of your brain, including the:
- Frontal lobe
As music interacts with your brain, it strengthens numerous brain pathways and networks, such as those directly involved with learning, well-being, quality of life, cognitive function and happiness. Music causes functional and structural changes in the brain that are beneficial to overall cognition.
The Psychological Effects of Music on the Brain
There are numerous psychological effects of music on the brain. Music has been found to affect our emotions in many ways, with the ability to induce both positive and negative emotions. For example, upbeat music can create a sense of excitement and happiness, while slower, more melancholic music can evoke feelings of sadness or nostalgia. Music can evoke emotions mainly because it activates the brain’s reward system, which releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and motivation.
Music and Stress Levels
The psychology of music also includes research that shows music can lower stress levels. It does this by significantly reducing stress-related hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Some articles indicate that music can calm a person’s heart rate and slow their breathing. One British journal reported music can help cut physical stress by up to 21 percent. Businesses that need to put customers at ease, such as spas and medical offices, can use these findings to good advantage.
Music and Customers
Music psychology shows a strong correlation between music and customer behavior. In restaurants, louder music tends to drive customers out of their seats faster, a benefit for establishments that depend on steady table turnover. But louder music also has been found to affect people’s ability to taste, reducing their appetite. Restaurants must draw a fine line between competing goals to land on the appropriate music volume.
The psychology behind music has found definite relationships between tempo and customer behavior. Uptempo music led to faster table turnovers and more drink purchases by men. Slower tempo music, on the other hand, was found to increase per-table revenue as customers linger and purchase additional drinks and desserts.
Studies also indicate that pop music can make people perceive beer as tasting sweeter, while heavy metal music leads to perceptions of bitterness.
Music and Employees
Playing music can also impact employees. One study indicated that music’s engagement with the sympathetic system can increase employee motivation. Other research showed that listening to music allowed people to work quicker and more productively.
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Music Psychology and Music Selection
We’ve seen the connection between music and psychology. Now let’s look at the effect music psychology has on song selection. Choosing the right type of music for a business is crucial for creating a positive and engaging customer experience. The importance of selecting the appropriate music lies in the fact that music affects customer behavior, mood and overall perception of your business. Music selection should be based on the target audience and the type of business, as different types of music can create different moods and emotions.
How Do Different Genres of Music Affect the Brain?
Restaurants and cafes can benefit from playing fast-paced music, which has been shown to increase the speed of customer eating and drinking, or slower-paced music, which has been found to increase per-table revenue. Upbeat music can be ideal for bars, as it creates a sense of excitement and energy, encouraging customers to remain and spend more money. In contrast, retail stores may benefit from playing slower-paced music, creating a relaxed and comfortable shopping experience for customers.
High-energy music is particularly effective in fitness centers and gyms, where it can motivate customers to exercise and push themselves further. The tempo and rhythm of music can also help individuals synchronize their movements, creating a sense of community and cohesion.
Like spas and medical offices, salons often play calming music to create a relaxing and serene environment for their clients. Slow-paced instrumental music can reduce anxiety and promote relaxation, providing a tranquil escape from the stresses of daily life.
The Benefits of Using Music Psychology
Using music psychology to select songs for your business has multiple advantages. Studies have shown that playing music that aligns with your target audience’s preferences can increase the likelihood of them staying longer in your business, which can lead to more sales. In addition, playing the right type of music can also influence customers to spend more.
By understanding the psychology of music and its impact on consumer and staff behavior, businesses can select the right type of music to create a positive and enjoyable experience for their customers and employees.
Other benefits include:
Increased Customer Satisfaction
Using music psychology can improve customer experience and satisfaction. Customers are more likely to respond positively to music that they enjoy, improving their overall experience in your business. This can increase customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth advertising.
Improved Brand Loyalty
The psychology behind music can also lead to increased brand loyalty. By selecting music that aligns with their brand image, businesses can reinforce their brand identity and create a more memorable experience for their customers. As a result, businesses can increase customer loyalty and repeat business. Research found that playing brand-appropriate music also boosted restaurant revenue.
As mentioned earlier, music psychology can boost employee productivity and morale. Research shows playing music in the workplace can reduce stress, improve employee morale and increase productivity. This can lead to a more positive work environment and improved employee retention.
Frequently Asked Questions About Music Psychology
SiriusXM Music for Business has the answers about music psychology that you’re looking for. Read the questions below to learn more.
What Is Music Psychology?
Music psychology is the study of how music interacts with the brain. It also explores related areas like dance and music composition.
How Does Music Affect Brain Psychology?
Music affects brain psychology by engaging different areas of the brain, including the temporal and frontal lobes, amygdala and cerebellum.
What Are the Emotional Effects of Music?
Listening to music boosts blood flow to regions of the brain that generate and control emotions. Music tempo affects emotions, with uptempo songs creating happy feelings and slower-paced songs causing sadness.
Can Music Improve Productivity?
Studies have shown that music can increase workers’ productivity.
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