Music as the Marketing Tool: There won’t be stores in the future. Only experiences.

“The earth has music for those who listen.” Whilst many brands use music across many channels, few brands capitalize on the true value of connecting with their audience through music. Music is arguably the most powerful tool to connect with or evoke emotions within an individual. Think about how hearing a particular song or sound can bring to memory a whole sequence of events and emotions – and in turn, the effect on our behavior. We hear the song, we want to go out and buy this, or rent that old movie, or go to that place again.

To more in-depth understand how music supervisors work with finding the perfect sound that fits your store, I sat down with Altaura’s founder Doug Marshall.

What is Altaura? 
Altaura is a full service sound agency that connects brands to their audience through the power of music. We make brands sound great.

How come you decided to start a sound agency?
I realised that so many brands and spaces sound wrong. The amount of times I was in a store or a restaurant and the music was terrible, out weighed how many times I was in a space and loved the sound. I wanted to create a company that would think outside of the box and create incredible atmospheres for brands and spaces.

What in your background brought you to this journey you are on today?
I have been obsessed with music my entire life. It started with recording the radio onto tapes at six and moved to becoming a professional DJ and music supervisor. I have also run music collectives, new music showcases and presented radio shows, all under the idea that I wanted to share good music with people.

How did you go from being a DJ to becoming a Music Supervisor?

Passion. I took advantage of being confident to talk to every person I met about how passionate I was about music. Eventually the jobs started coming to me. There is alot of luck in that, but I believe if you put your energy into a passion, they have a way of manifesting into something.

How does your agency design sound for a client?  

We use a human centred design approach putting the customer at the centre of the process. We will sit down with the client and get to know them and their brand and spaces. From that we can go away and design what we call a SoundAura, this is a doc that includes insights into your brand, what services we propose and what sound, along with breakdowns on how your customers will feel. We also propose the right tech setup, cost and timeline on when we can get the job done.

What would you say is the easiest part vs. the most complicated part with figuring out the right brand-fit music for a brand?

The easiest part is getting brands passionate about music, because everyone loves it. The hard part is convincing them that sometimes they can be wrong.

Of all the projects you have worked on so far, which one are you the most proud of?

I’m proud of all of the projects I have worked on, but most proud probably on our first client. It is run by a business owner who has run the company for 40 years. Winning him over and seeing the benefit it brought his business has been fantastic.

What lesson have you learned through your journey?

The sales we lose. Anytime something doesn’t work or they don’t agree, it’s the best way to challenge what you are doing and see a different perspective. I always try and think of our service from the customer point of view.

Why do you consider brand-fit in-store music important?

There are a million reasons. The short answer is, better connections with a brands audience which leads to more sales.

Then, why do you think brands still today neglect to strategically work with brand-fit in-store music?

Because they underestimate its importance. A lot of people don’t see how negative playing the wrong music can be. We had a client come to us complaining Baby Shark was playing in one of their stores. Hilarious but damaging.

Our research have shown the importance of measuring the impact of stores in-store music. How do you measure the effect of your clients brand-fit music?

We are constantly talking to our clients and collecting data on their behalf. Analysing this data, gives us insights on how to improve their bespoke solution and show how we make a difference. The best way to test if its working. Go into one of their spaces and see how happy people are. The energy of music carries a long way.

Why do you think measuring the impact of the music is important for brands?

Because people need clarification on their investment.

What makes your sound agency different from others in the industry?

We design unique experiences. Not playlists.

What would you say are the 5 things for brands to consider when curating in-store music?
  • Pay for your music. Spotify is illegal.
  • Understand the damage without curated music.
  • Understand the positive of curated music.
  • Be proactive in looking towards the future, it’s the only way to survive this climate. The fact you’re considering it, is a great start.
WHY SOUND IS ESSENTIAL-Altaura-SpaceSonology

What is the most fun part of your job and the most challenging?
The fun part is that I get to hunt for music. The most challenging part is finding the right music.

What have you learned from working as a music curator?

No job is easy. Music is a language anyone can understand, using its full potential is so powerful.

What is the future for in-store music?
There won’t be stores. Only experiences.


What does your brand sound like and how would you like to design your store experience with the power of music? Contact Dough and his team to learn more.