Since everything on the Internet today is presented with numbers, I was thinking today about five things I’ve learned as a Music Designer.

1. There is LOTS of good music in this world! I knew there was lots of good music in the world before, but since I’ve become a Music Designer, I have created programs comprised of bluegrass, gospel, and honky-tonk music and broadened my taste in music considerably from my favorites: Americana, oldies, and country. I also took over the programming of our Easy Instrumentals program and JAMboree and learned to appreciate those styles (okay, still in small doses). While I’ve always kept up on what I considered the current Top 40 music in the United States, I have learned as a Music Designer that there are so many songs that may make it on one Top 40 chart, but not on another Top 40 chart, that it is imperative to monitor them all for the songs that are appealing to someone somewhere. And, while some might still not make it to a chart, certain songs still have that flavor, that feel, that sound that is perfect for a business I’m working with, so it is important to seek out more than the songs being talked about.

2. Not everyone shares my musical opinions. Okay, I’ve known this since I fell in love with Johnny Cash when I was in elementary school and I took a lot of heat from my classmates who loved the Jackson 5, David Cassidy, or Jimi Hendrix. I work with a group of amazing Music Designers with incredible knowledge. I would love to see the Venn diagram of our music tastes! There would absolutely be no song or genre that we all love, but we all can appreciate each others’ taste and learn from one another.

3. Music not only enhances a business, it can detract. I never walk into a store without noticing the music. I have learned that if I really don’t like the music in a business and it grates on my ears, chances are that I am not the target for that store. Their target customer loves that music and it brings them in and makes them shop longer. But wrong music can be wrong music and there are choices in a business’s Music Design that are wrong no matter what.

4. Volume is as important a factor as the music choice. I have been on location with businesses where may or may not be the Music Designer and thought, “Do they even have music playing?” If the music is off, the customer can feel awkward, afraid to talk to their companions out loud, rushed. If the music is too low, it can do the same, making the atmosphere intimidating. And, too loud can stop the customer from enjoying their shopping, again rushing them so that they can escape the sensory overload.

5. And finally… music is one of the easiest… and hardest… things to change. At home, you want a romantic night, the easiest thing to do is turn down the lights and fire up the candles. Next is to put on a special album or playlist that sets the right mood for you and your loved one. In a business, changing from one channel to another in styles of music is easy to do, but not necessarily right for the moment. A Music Designer knows what a program can do and how it can affect the atomostphere, just like an Interior Designer can choose colors, patterns, and furniture. While doing it might be easy, doing it right takes an expert.

– Submitted by Janice Williams, Music Design