Playing tunes in restaurants and cafés is nothing new. But did you know that music can do so much more than just setting a nice atmosphere? According to a survey by Heartbeats International, 50% of young people stay longer at restaurants or cafés if the music is good but almost half (44%) head out the door if the music is bad.

Does that get you nervous? Keep reading and you’ll be fine.

So, what kind of music should you play? That might sound like a tough question. But it all comes down to the profile you want to set for your café or restaurant, and the types of guests you usually attract.

Do you run a quiet, reading-a-book kind of café, or a busy and loud joint where local live-bands play on Thursday nights? Different audiences call for different music. Simple as that. While one café pleases their patrons by playing Norah Jones, another one might do just right by pumping out Avicii while a third one tunes by some German underground rap duo no one ever heard of.

Here are 3 useful tips on how to think when selecting the right type music for your place:

  • Some researchers argue that your best bet will be to play music by unknown artists. So, you may consider avoiding the Billboard list. Not (only) because you come off as uncreative and absent of your own taste in music. But music by known artists can evoke negative associations for your customers. You either love ‘em or hate them, right?
  • Adapt the music to what’s going. Did you just take a plate of newly baked croissants out of the oven? Tune in some French music.
  • If you don’t operate a nightclub, keep a decent volume. We know we just said music is important, but keep it civil. People want to hear it in the background but still be able to chat with their Tinder-dates.

A final word of advice: Make sure that you have all the necessary licenses to play music in your business. PPL collects royalties for performers and record companies, while PRS for Music collects royalties for songwriters, composers and publishers. When you play recorded music in public, you’ll most likely be legally required to get a license from both organisations. Don’t risk it!