Background music may seem harmless, but it can have a powerful effect on those who hear it. Recorded background music first found its way into factories, shops and restaurants in the U.S. But
it soon spread to other parts of the world. Now it is becoming increasingly difficult to go shopping or eat a meal without listening to music.
To begin with, "muzak" was intended simply to create a smoothing atmosphere. Nowadays, however, it‘s become big business .... thanks in part to recent research. Dr. Ronald Millikan, an American marketing expert, has shown that music can boost sales or increase factory production by as much as a third.
But, it has to be light music. A fast one has no effect at all on sales. Slow music can increase receipts by 38%. This is probably because shoppers slow down and have more opportunities to spot items they like to buy. Yet, slow music isn‘t always that effective. Dr. Millikan found, for example,
that in restaurants slow music meant customers took longer time to eat their meals, which reduced overall sales. So restaurant owners might be well advised to play up-tempo music to keep the customers moving-- unless, of course, the resulting indigestion leads to complaints!