Updated: Aug 24, 2019
Having great music at a restaurant or shop can take a good dining or shopping experience and turn it into a great one. No matter whether it's enjoying a meal with friends or browsing in a local shop, I love it when the background music adds to the experience and sets a tone. It certainly isn't always the case that public music is additive, but when it's good, music makes us feel something, it informs a sense of place and it engages and elevates an experience.
Recently The Amsterdam, a restaurant in Rhinebeck asked me to help them set up a music service that would hit all these notes. The Amsterdam is a phenomenal restaurant with a super friendly staff and utterly delicious food, so I knew that the music would have to be just right. I searched around and demoed many different commercial streaming services and then I stumbled upon Soundtrack Your Brand. After listening to the wide array of genres available, the vastness and depth of the selections within those genres, and the general quality of the tracks that their player served up, I knew I had found the right service. Soundtrack Your Brand (SYB) is an offshoot from the makers of Spotify and as an everyday devoted listener of Spotify, I can't say I'm surprised that their service is head and shoulders above the competition.
Because of their vast user base and focus on personalization and music discovery built on a subscriber's tastes and listening history, Spotify's databases and algorithms are unsurpassed. Their Discover Weekly playlists take your listening habits and customize a new playlist each week that you would swear some musicologist reached inside your brain and curated just for you. Here's a fascinating article about how those Discover Weekly playlists are actually created. With all that user data and expertise connecting people to an ever expanding swath of music that they will love, it's no surprise that the Spotify related commercial streaming service is so robust.
So why do you need a commercial version of Spotify anyways? Why can't you just play Spotify, or Pandora, or those old CDRs you have in that big black binder from the 2000s in your restaurant or shop? Well, it turns out that restaurants and stores are legally required to pay fees to a Performance Rights Organization (PRO) for playing recorded music in their business. Businesses can arrange deals directly with these PROs (like BMI, ASCAP or SESAC), but because certain musicians and songwriters are represented by different PROs, it's difficult to be sure that all the music on those CDRs is going to be fully legal. Soundtrack Your Brand and all commercial streaming services cover the necessary licensing and fee for you to play the music they provide legally and then you don't have to worry about some PRO representative walking through your door and issuing you a fine or legal papers.
When you create a "soundtrack" in SYB, it creates a playlist that won't repeat for at least 40 hours, meaning customers, employees and business owners won't get tired of hearing the same music over and over. You can create these custom soundtracks based off of genres, moods and decades or by even dragging in a playlist from Spotify! Equally impressive to me was the quality and diversity of the pre-made soundtracks that SYB has created. If that wasn't enough, you can sculpt a schedule that changes according to the time of day and day of the week! In the case of the Amsterdam, they have different clientele and moods for their lunch, dinner and late nights and those change on the weekends too. So I was able to put together a dynamic schedule of about 15 different soundtracks specifically tuned to these preferences that changes throughout the day and week. I'm proud to say that my soundtrack choices and scheduling have been working out great for them. They can tend to the business of creating great food and offering terrific service and not have to worry about when their playlist is going to run out, or what CD they should play next. If you're interested in putting something like this together for your business, let's talk!