Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Alison Jones 

BA [Hons] Creative Music Production

Hello. My name is Alison, and I have loved learning about and creating music for as long as I can remember. I play multiple instruments, sing and write/produce my own music. The Creative Music Production course at IADT has allowed me to gain studio experience, collaborate on projects with other creative courses, and develop technical skills. I have experimented with creating music in many genres, filmed and produced a music video, and created podcasts and video documentaries. I plan to continue learning and experimenting with music to better myself as a musician, performer, producer and engineer.

Project Description

This thesis explored how store music can impact a store environment, sales, conversion rates and other variables when curated specifically to the core customer demographic and store employee preferences. A study was carried out in the chosen retailer: 53 Degrees North. This is an "outdoor" store. Two interviews and five surveys were conducted throughout this project. A music curator and store manager were interviewed to understand the processes needed to curate the playlist and to identify problems with the original store music. Three surveys were created to collect data from the staff at 53 Degrees North and from everyday shoppers. The weekday and weekend playlists were curated and played for one week, and two feedback surveys were conducted.
The results show that staff and customer moods improved, leading to more positive interactions.Some of the music resonated strongly with some customers, which resulted in them staying in the store for longer. Conversion rates increased to the second highest in five weeks the week the playlists were played.These findings indicate a correlation.

Project Objectives

This thesis aimed to discover the effects of curated music in a retail environment and create a step-by-step guide to playlist curation. This would benefit individuals in the music and business sectors by providing the information needed to build a playlist. This research strived to conduct a study in a physical store. The study involved playing a curated playlist for the chosen store for one week, comparing conversion figures, etc., to previous weeks, and conducting feedback surveys to collect real data. Two interviews and five surveys were held to highlight the techniques used by professional playlist curators, identify problems with the store music that needed to be solved, collect feedback and much more.

Project Outcomes

The findings of this research show that staff morale, customer mood and behaviour, and conversion rates were all positively affected by the curated store music. Staff morale was impacted as the music they suggested was featured in the playlist. The playlist was more energetic and featured more well-known songs in general, which also boosted staff morale. Customer mood and behaviour were positively impacted by the music as they were observed singing along or bopping their heads to the music. Some customers were also reported to have stayed in the shop until the song was finished playing before leaving. This shows that music can impact the duration of a customer’s stay in a shop. The improved mood of customers and staff led to more positive interactions, which may be why conversion rates increased. Conversion was the second highest in five weeks during the week the playlist was played. A digital handbook was created, highlighting the most important methodologies from this research in a simplified “step-by-step” for playlist curation. The playlist was reviewed and approved by a professional in the field.

Thesis Title

This study has practical implications for the retail industry, showing the impact of music on store ambience, sales, conversion and more. Conducted at retailer 53 Degrees North, it comprised two interviews and five surveys. Interviews with a music curator and store manager highlighted playlist curation processes and issues with existing music. Three surveys gathered insights from employees and shoppers. After playing the curated playlists for a week, two feedback surveys were conducted. Results show improved staff and customer moods, fostering positive interactions. The music resonated strongly with customers, prolonging their store visits. Conversion rates surged to the second highest in five weeks, suggesting a link between staff morale, customer mood, conversion and curated store music.