Background music tempo and its effect on duration and spending in a bar

Feb. 4, 2020

Shakespeare Music has been working with Bar and Club owners since 2012 and has amassed considerable experience and expertise in providing the right kind of background music to suit the existing clientele or service the required target demographic.

A recent psychological study endorsed some of our own experience. In this study, the tempo of the background music in a bar was manipulated through the selection of playlists, and the amount of time and money spent by customers in the bar was measured. Two conditions were used, fast tempo and slow tempo. The experiment was conducted by observing how long customers spent in the bar, and by collecting sales data from the cash register system of the bar, during five three-hour observation periods for each condition.

To account for weekly shifts, the sales during each hour of the observation period (16:00-19:00 on each day) were calculated as a percentage of the day’s total sales. Sales data were also collected for the ten weeks surrounding the observation period and averaged in order to give a control set of data.

It was found that while the tempo of the music had no significant effect upon the time spent in the venue by customers, a significant difference was found for sales – a higher percentage of sales, up by 20%, were recorded while slower tempo music was playing than faster tempo music.

The slower, presumably less arousal-inducing music used in the slow condition of this study produced a more appropriate atmosphere for customers who may have wished to enjoy a relaxing afternoon coffee or beer.

These results support previous research, and coincide with our own experience. If you would like to know more about how the right tempo of background music can increase your sales please get in touch.

Research Reference:
Samuel Joseph Down, Master's Thesis, Music, Mind & Technology, May 2009.
University of Jyväskylä

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