The effects of background music on staff and sales

It has long been known that background music can affect how consumers experience and act in a marketplace. However, we know very little about the staff’s experiences of the background music, and what the effects will be if the staff can to a greater extent influence the music that is played in the store.

The overall purpose of this project has been to study the staff’s experiences of background music in the retail trade, and whether sales are affected by the staff being given opportunities to influence the background music in the store.

The research is based on two large-scale field experiments in two different retail chains (Hästens and Filippa K). Soundtrack Your Brand has designed the playlists used in the experiments and via their technical platform we have been able to randomly decide where and when the music is played in the stores. The large-scale and design of the experiments means that we can comment on the effects with greater certainty than previous studies
of the music played in the stores. In the project, we combine statistical analysis of sales data with in-depth interviews of the staff in the stores.

The results presented in the report show that:

  • The staff have very different perceptions of how they experience the background music in stores.
  • The choice of background music can have a major impact on how staff experience the work environment.
  • There is a business risk in letting the staff control the choice of background music in the stores.
    The conclusion of our research is that background music is important for the perceived work environment, but that there is a business risk in letting the staff control the music in the store.