Is there any point to the background music you hear at the supermarket? There certainly is. In fact, it is selected on a detailed scientific basis to make you spend your money...
While some stores play or don't play music without a second thought, the significant effects of music have been identified in dozens of academic studies.
We'll break out the coolest findings as summarized in a paper by Nicolas Guéguen, Céline Jacob, Marcel Lourel and Hélène Le Guellec.
If you find yourself splashing out an extra portion of chips next time you're in McDonalds, you might have the restaurant's music to blame.
Major restaurant chains, including McDonalds and TGI Fridays are installing specially-designed sound systems that make customers spend as much as 10 per cent more.
The system, called Soundtrack Your Brand, plays music that reflects a brand's values, evoking a range of positive emotions in customers and increasing guest satisfaction.
Researchers from HUI Research, a research-based consulting firm in Stockholm, conducted the largest ever academic study of background music, to design the sound system.
Professor Sven-Olov Daunfeldt, who led the study, said: 'This is without doubt the largest field study on the influence of music in restaurants to date, and we've analyzed an enormous pool of data.
'When done right, music has a major positive effect on sales, largely stemming from guests purchasing more items such as desserts and sides.'
'Play the wrong music, and you just might find that you're alienating that very same customer and selling significantly less.'
While most restaurants play music in an attempt to shape their customers' experience, they choose their songs casually and without much thought.
But the researchers believed that the right music could have a huge return for restaurants.
Over the course of five months, across 16 McDonalds restaurants in Sweden, the researchers analyzed a pool of nearly two million unique transactions.
The researchers compared the sales impact of playing a carefully selected choice of music that fit the chain's brand, with playing random popular music.
The results showed that the difference was 9.1 per cent over the period of the study.
Music that fit the brand made customers more likely to buy additional items than if the restaurant played random popular music.
The formula for success appeared to be a mix of popular and less known songs that still had a good brand fit.
Ola Sars, CEO of Soundtrack Your Brand, told MailOnline: 'The Soundtrack Your Brand technology takes into account factors such as the time of day and the type of people likely to be in a certain location, creating a tailored atmosphere for both the brand and consumer.
For example, breakfast music in the center of a city sounds very different to that played over a romantic evening in the countryside.
'The complexity of consumer listening patterns means that the technology needs to be flexible to lots of different situations, and that’s what makes it so exciting.'
'Within the restaurant space in particular, many chains target a millennial audience and are therefore looking for music that reflects a brand identity that is "welcoming", "modern", and "expressive".
'Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You" is like a warm hug as you walk into a restaurant.
In particular, sales of desserts and sides rose by more than 11 per cent, while the sales of smoothies and milkshakes increased by 15 per cent.
Conversely, playing the wrong music had a huge impact on sales.
Professor Daunfeldt said: 'Based on these results, I'd advise anyone who has a restaurant to be very mindful about the choice of music.
'Unless you think hard about the music you play, you might be better off to refrain from playing background music altogether.'
A separate survey of over 2,000 restaurant guests showed the impact of brand-fit music versus random popular music on emotion and satisfaction.
The results showed that guests' well-being and mood dramatically improved when listening to brand-fit music.
Mr Sars added: 'I've always known intuitively that bad background music hurts businesses.
'And conversely that carefully selected music can increase sales and improve experiences.
'It's thrilling to find that science backs this hunch.'
Fancy a little more heat in your curry? Then reach for the Red Hot Chili Peppers – or even the Spice Girls.
Scientists have found that listening to fast-paced, energetic music can increase the perceived spiciness of food by up to ten per cent.
And the experts, based at the University of Oxford, have even christened the bizarre phenomenon ‘sonic seasoning’.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, traditional Indian music – featuring shrill sitar notes, a fast drum beat and high pitched singing – has one of the strongest sonic seasoning effects.
But uptempo songs from bands such as the Spice Girls and Chili Peppers can also affected the taste buds.
The researchers asked volunteers to pick music that they thought would be associated with spicy food.
They then asked 180 volunteers to eat spicy food while listening to short clips of the music, white noise or silence.
They found those listening to music with a faster tempo, higher pitch and distorted sounds said the food was spicier and had more intense flavors.
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