Every restaurant has slightly different needs when it comes to their music solution. That said, no matter what types of music you want to play or what your budget may be, there are some important elements to look for if you want to get the most out of your restaurant music solution.
#1: Licensed for business. In order to play music in your business, you need to secure the rights to that music. Think of it as paying the artists in return for them providing your business with tunes. Nowadays, some businesses like to use a consumer-based streaming app to play music, or they pull from their personal download collection – both of which violate federal copyright laws.
Performing Rights Agents travel the country visiting businesses of all sizes to make sure that their background music solution is licensed for commercial use. If they catch you playing unlicensed music, you could be penalized $750-$150,000 in fines for each song you use illegally.
The good news here is that most restaurant music providers obtain those rights for you on your behalf, though not all. We list out the pertinent details you need to know on our Music Licensing page.
#2: The music sounds like your restaurant. This point may sound odd, but to put it simply, the music you choose should be consistent with the experience you’re trying to create.
For example, if you’re a fine dining steakhouse, you’ll probably lay off the pop music and go with something like that appeals to an older, more sophisticated crowd like smooth jazz. If you’re a Mexican-style restaurant, choose Latin music. Catch our drift? Playing music that doesn’t match the general concept of your restaurant WILL create a disorienting experience for your guests. Which gets us to #3.
#3: The solution should offer a large selection of programs. When it comes to restaurant music, it doesn’t get much worse than looping the same three programs over and over again. You’ll drive your staff nuts and make the experience stale for regular customers. Whatever you do, don’t resort to playing off-brand music just for the sake of variety.
Instead, keep things fresh and make sure you go with a provider that offers a huge selection of programs and genres that fit the experience you want to create, and make sure these options are updated regularly on your behalf.
#4: The music delivery is reliable. We’ll save all of the nitty-gritty specifics for a future blog, but here’s the deal: one of the last things you want is to have your music not work. Silence can be incredibly awkward in a restaurant, and the skips and blips that often come along with consumer-based streaming technology will disrupt the experience.
With many new providers in the industry providing only streaming music solutions without a media device, it’s important to remember that the reliability of a device-less solution is entirely dependent upon a) your internet connection, and b) the strength and reliability of the provider’s feed.
Additionally, if you have other devices and computers consuming bandwidth on your network, your playback quality could be affected as well.
The point here: make sure you go with a reliable provider that offers a device option for music playback. And if you choose a lower-cost streaming-only solution that doesn’t use a device, it’s even more important to go with an experienced provider.
#5: The service is “money well spent.” Everyone has a different budget for background music, but generally speaking, you get what you pay for. The market for restaurant music is flooded with low-cost providers boasting the latest-and-greatest, and many of them lack important things like quality, variety, control, reliability and service.
At the end of the day, these elements are well worth the cost of a few extra cents per day that you might pay with a more experienced provider.
#6: The power of human curation. Any IT hack or coder funded by a start-up investor can load up a bunch of songs, sort them by genre and create a streaming music product. But these people aren’t going to build you an effective restaurant music playlist.
Instead, you want to work with a company that has true music experts who handpick your music and curate your programs.
These are the folks who not only know and love music, but they also have a keen sense for what different brands should sound like. They’ll even help you make the right selections so that the tunes are consistent with the experience you’re looking to create.
Platforms and technology are fundamental, but they can’t account for the power of human curation, executed by professional music designers who have a deep understanding for the symbiotic relationship between music, brand and the customer experience.
#7: It meets your specific needs. In case you haven’t noticed, an underlying theme in this piece is that effective restaurant music doesn’t come from a one-size-fits-all provider. You want to work with a provider that offers multiple programming options, whether you want a fully-customized solution, preset programs or music streaming for business.
Additionally, it’s also good to work with a provider that can deliver the music through a medium that works best for you. Not every restaurant wants a solution that uses their internet connection. Sometimes they want it on a CD or need music delivered via satellite. Others want a caching solution that stores the music as it downloads it. No matter your preference, make sure that the music works for you, and not the other way around.
#8: It better be really easy to use. Whether your solution uses a background music player or not, you should still be able to easily manage content, set track preferences and schedule programs.
A poorly designed content management interface or player can cause a ton of confusion – and that’s the last thing you want to deal with when it comes to managing your restaurant music.
Make sure you can see a demo of the content management system before you sign up for the solution. Additionally, you’ll also want to make sure that the provider offers telephone and on-site support in the event that you need assistance.
#9: Business-appropriate content. The music you play in your restaurant is a representation of your brand, and if you cater to families, playing tracks that are inappropriate is an easy way to tarnish your brand image. Whether or not your restaurant music is appropriate for business should never be a concern, which is another reason why it’s so important to work with an experienced professional background music provider that proactively filters content that may turn away moms and dads.
#10: It offers more than just music. Restaurant music is an investment in your guest experience – and what better way to maximize that investment than by working with a music provider that also offers other important services, such as sound systems, satellite TV and digital signage?
Restaurant music providers that focus on the total customer experience can offer incredible value and savings by allowing you to bundle your music with additional services. In the end you’ll save money – and you’ll ultimately make your job easier by working with fewer vendors.
#11: The music is backed by fast local service. Getting the music up and running simply isn’t enough. As we briefly mentioned in #8, you want to make sure that your music provider has local technicians they can send over to your location in the event of an issue – in addition to 24/7 service by phone and email.
If you have any questions or want to learn more about restaurant music solutions, CONTACT US today! Our experts will show you just how easy we make it to bring together all 11 elements mentioned above – so you can connect with your guests in a meaningful and memorable way.
– Submitted by Jeff Sheerin, Marketing