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How do stores and restaurants choose their music? Soundtrack Your Brand CEO explains

In this article:
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Ola Sars, CEO at Soundtrack Your Brand, joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the impact of music in stores and restaurants on retail sales and how 55 % of shoppers stay longer because of the music.

Video Transcript

SEANA SMITH: There was a recent survey out by Soundtrack Your Brand, which they did in partnership with another company. And they looked into music listening habits. And they found that the right music could actually make customers stay in the store longer, then also potentially spend more. So let's bring in Ola Sars, the CEO of Soundtrack Your Brand. And Ola, it's good to see you. Music can really set a mood. That's something I think everyone knows about. But when it comes to shopping, why is it so important?

OLA SARS: Well, you can imagine walking into a store now during Thanksgiving in the US, or anywhere in Stockholm, Sweden, where I am right now, where it's pitch dark in the evening, and there's no music playing. I mean, music sets the whole scene. It gets the vibe going. And actually, in the US, standalone, there's 91 billion shop visits every year, and 24 billion in retail, specifically. Every time the US citizens walk into their local retailer or to Macy's and so forth, the music is playing. And it's there for a reason. It's there to make you feel good, make you feel at home, make you feel inspired, and maybe even dance over there and buy some more shirts or buy another drink in the restaurant you're in.

JARED BLIKRE: Ola, I'm wondering how the licensing works. So let's say I'm a small business. I'm playing this music in my business. Does my capacity, my potential capacity change the fee structure? I'm just wondering in general what those dynamics are.

OLA SARS: Right. So I come actually from a background in the consumer streaming space, where it's actually illegal to use the consumer streaming services in retail. So there's a specific licensing and a specific product you need to use, like Soundtrack, for example, when you're playing music in a commercial environment or a public domain. So it would be the equivalent of opening a cinema on a Netflix account if you were using any of the consumer services. So you need to get a professional B2B service, like Soundtrack, for example, and that covers the licensing to actually use music and audio to sell more coffee or sell more shirts, whatever your business is.

SEANA SMITH: Ola, you have a range of clients. They include Lululemon, J.Crew, McDonald's, one of them. When it comes to picking, the right music how do you go about identifying that?

OLA SARS: Well, that's the interesting thing, right, is first of all, as a brand, you're always thinking about how you want to be perceived or what type of customer experience that you want to deliver. That's kind of a natural ingredient in building a brand and running a business. All brands do that.

But then when you have that type of brand positioning statement or whatever you call it, then you want to translate that into a soundtrack, where the music, how does your brand sound. That's a fairly sophisticated exercise. We've actually built algorithms that can interpret that brand positioning that brands develop, and then translate that into a soundtrack, how a brand would sound.

But obviously, that brand sounds differently if it's Thanksgiving or if it's Christmas. We're all getting very close to the Christmas holidays around the world, here in Sweden, as well, as well as in the US. And obviously, Christmas is a big shopping and happening, and it's a big musical happening, as well. So leading up to that, brands really have to think about, for example, what do their brands sound like during Christmas standalone, but also 365 days a year. You need to deliver that customer experience and have people stay longer, feel more empowered, and you know, most importantly, not annoy them or scare them away from your store.

JARED BLIKRE: Oh, very good point there. You don't want to do that. I'm wondering how the different-- if you can-- let's say a restaurant or a retail store. Are there different genres of music specifically that go with different industries better than others?

OLA SARS: I wouldn't say industry, specifically. I mean, you need to think, again, what's about your brand, and what type of customer experience. But obviously, if you're running an Asian cross-fusion restaurant in Brooklyn, obviously you need to have a connection to what type of product you're serving. So you would most likely have some type of connection to, you know, Asian sounds, or sounds that go in line with that type of experience.

And then you always have to think about, obviously, that restaurant will sound different during lunch on a Monday than it does at five, six o'clock on a Friday, when you have people come in to have drinks and celebrate the end of the week. So it's not only about getting the right brand sound out there, but it's also getting the right brand sound at the right place and at the right time.

And if you have a big chain, like we have multiple customers that are global, we're in 75 markets with 58 million tracks that you need to constantly deliver that customer experience through, maybe that brand sounds different in Chicago than it does in New York than Miami than Stockholm than Munich than Tokyo, because you have local repertoire, local music, you have local holidays, you have different time zones running. And maybe one is high street and one is in a mall, and you have different types of customers. So it's a fairly sophisticated equation that you need to balance the whole time when you're investing in music in your business.

SEANA SMITH: Well, Ola Sars, CEO of Soundtrack Your Brand, thanks so much for joining us. Let's take--