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We wrote this blog post on LinkedIn about the heartbreaking yet hopeful movement to get iPods into the ears of dementia patients.

Read it here.

At Shoplifter, we help labels maximize their song placement in all the stores, restaurants, hotels and businesses that consumers shop in. Our clients believe in the power of in-store radio to reach new fans every day. Have you ever Shazamed a song when you are shopping? People do it every day.

Every so often, we come across a blog piece that seeks to expose some sinister usage of music to manipulate consumer behavior. Yesterday, a piece ran on lifehacker (Shorten Your Shopping Trip By Blocking Out Slow Tempo Music) which once again tries to worry consumers about the music they hear when shopping. They suggest that stores use music to change your behavior and get you to buy things you don’t want.

I’ve reviewed most of the studies that link consumer behavior and music for my book and for lectures I give at USC. And while there is a correlation, it’s not a direct causal one. For one thing, the study in this lifehacker article was from 1983 and customer behavior has significantly changed since then. Today, a store simply has to have music – it’s more a question of the right kind of music.

The in-store radio industry faces many challenges and is always adapting whether it’s Mood Media selling their Canadian portfolio to their partner Stingray or DMI appointing a whole slew of new leaders in Business Development, Global Digital and Operations. And my friends and colleagues in this industry really believe in the power of music – they take pride when it’s done well and work to understand their client’s needs for music. But I doubt anyone really thinks you can force someone to buy a box of Mac-n-Cheese if they hear the right song. Like all marketing, it’s one part of the brand-customer process.

For most shoppers, music is a soundtrack to the experience. A great song can make you feel better when you shop – it’s a simple as that.

We were invited to publish a piece on LinkedIn. Please check out “Music and Emotion: A Powerful Connection.” Enjoy!

As CEO/Founder of 2 companies, you might think I have trouble focusing. At B(R)ANDSMusic Branding, we help consumer brands use music across their marketing, advertising and experiential components. Whereas at SHOPLIFTER, we help record labels maximize their presence across retail soundtracks. In both instances, though, there is a unifying theme: we are finding the emotional connection between music and people.

There’s a common factoid repeated in the marketing world: Emotions often outweigh other factors such as price or quality when it comes to making a purchasing decision. In his book, Descartes Error, Antonio Damasio, posits that emotion is actually the single strongest determiner when it comes to making a purchase.

Now, consider for a moment people’s strong emotional connection to music. So strong thatone study found 60% of us consider ourselves to be passionate about music while only 6% said they don’t care. What is passion other than the strongest of positive emotions? Humans have a unique, universal ability to identify emotion within music according to the Max Planck Institute in their 2009 study. And this emotional power can be a huge asset for both consumer brands and record labels.

Over my 15 year career, I’ve helped brands use music as an emotional catalyst – a device to engage consumers and retain and grow brand loyalty. I even wrote a book about it because brands have to use music. So many of their marketing and communication channels require it – from TV and radio advertising to in-store experience to social media to customer engagement via public events. So, it’s not a matter of “if”, it’s “when” and, more importantly, “how do we do it right?”

The same is true for the music industry who are desperate to build that emotional connection with new fans. Just as important as in-store/overhead music is to brands, it’s equally important as a new fan acquisition channel for labels. According to a 2011 Music Discovery Study by NARM/NPD, “There is still a large core group who learns by listening…on shopping trips.” In-store radio, as we call it, can fill in the gaps that a labels’ promotional efforts might be leaving open. Even the major labels have a tough time getting a new song on traditional radio.

So as busy as my days are, the common thread is finding that emotional connection between music and people. As Tolstoy famously said, “Music is the shorthand of emotion.”

Richard Jankovich, CEO of B(R)ANDS Music Branding Group, Inc., will be giving a presentation on Friday, May 9th at the Event Marketing Summit 2014 in Salt Lake City.

As the conference describes it:

“There’s a science to matching the right music to the right brand experience. Get data and insights on music’s impact on consumer behavior as well as how to leverage the emotional connections between music and feelings. Learn the “audio touch points” of a brand and what not to do when selecting songs for your events.”

Hope to see you there!


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