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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.

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