Sales drop when employees control in-store music 

4 december 2019

Is it beneficial for store owners to give employees more opportunities to influence the in-store music? Researchers from the Institute of Retail Economics have in a new study tried to answer this question.

The results show that sales decreased by, on average, 6% when employees had the opportunity to influence the music played in the store.

Interviews revealed that employees frequently changed songs, preferred to play high-intensity songs, and had diverse music preferences that were not congruent with the brand values of the company. It thus seems that employees choose music that suits their preferences rather than based on what is optimal for the store, suggesting that store owners might want to limit opportunities to influence the background music in stores.

“It is likely that employees make non-optimal choices and, for example, play high-intensity music during parts of the day when low-intensity music would have been preferable. There is therefore a business risk of letting employees influence the background music in the store”, says Professor Sven-Olov Daunfeldt, who has led the study.

The study is the first large-scale field experiment on the effects of letting employees influence in-store music. Eight Filippa K fashion stores in Stockholm, Sweden, were randomly selected into a treatment group and a control group and then followed over 56 weeks. Employees in the treatment stores got an opportunity to influence the in-store music using an app developed by Soundtrack Your Brand, while employees in the control stores got no such opportunity.

The report can be downloaded here.

For more information on the report, please contact:

Professor Sven-Olov Daunfeldt, Head of Research at the Institute of Retail Economics.

Email:; Tel: +46 70 295 72 84

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