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Music - How and how long do you play it?

This is a discussion on Music - How and how long do you play it? within the Coffee Shops, Espresso Bars & Cafes forums, part of the Coffee Addicts category; Hello, This is my first post here; I'm planning to open a coffee shop in the near future and I'm working on the business plan ...

  1. #1
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    Music - How and how long do you play it?

    Hello,

    This is my first post here; I'm planning to open a coffee shop in the near future and I'm working on the business plan & other details.

    Regarding the ambience, there's something that I'm wondering: how long do you play music in your shop? Do you play it all day, uninterrupted? Or have you found that during some hours (e.g. different public) it's better not to play any music?
    And do you make a break between each song - or group of songs? For example, play 5 songs then stop for 10 minutes, then play 5 other songs.

    I've searched through the forum but related threads only deal with what kind of songs should be played.
    Is my question too dumb? I'd imagine different shops have different policies regarding that matter.

    Thanks for your insights!

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  3. #2
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    It's your shop! You can choose to have music or not.

    Music should reflect the ambiance of the store seamlessly.
    Choosing music to be cool or edgy has it's place, but not if everything else is executed properly.

    And remember, you either need to pay for a service, or play the radio.
    John Piquet
    caffe d'bolla
    Salt Lake City, UT
    twitter.com/caffedbolla

  4. #3
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    Err... yes, I want to play music but I don't know how, as explained in the first post.
    Since I plan to make music an important differentiating element, I want to make sure it's aire properly (though there will obviously be some process of trial and errors)

  5. #4
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    Hello "Flatron"

    Welcome to the Coffee Forums website.

    I'm not sure of the legalities of playing music in a coffee shop, because most of the places where I've worked didn't bother with worrying about that. They just recorded and played whatever mix of music they wanted. However, I've known people who have gotten themselves into trouble because they were playing copywritten music for the public.

    It seems like you're mainly asking for some suggestions as to when to play music and for how long during the day.

    If you plan to play music, you should do it all throughout the day. The idea of playing 5 songs and stopping for 10 minutes isn't practical, and I imagine it would drive people crazy wondering why the music suddenly stopped. You can play mellow music first thing in the morning, and then get a little more up-beat as the day goes by. The cafe where I currently work plays music all day long and only shuts it off at night before closing. It is a continuous loop of up-beat melodies (no singing or rapping) and believe me, at the end of the day when I go home, I'm still hearing those songs in my head.

    Do you have any local musical groups or musicians in your area? Some cafe owners ask them to record a CD of their music with the intention of playing it in the cafe (for free) and promoting the group/person's music - or if they have a CD already made, you could also sell it in your shop. If you get a few groups to do that for you, you'd have enough music to last the whole day.

    One last note.....It's really not a good idea to play the music loud. If it's too loud, it becomes distracting and annoying. I've stopped going to restaurants (like Ruby Tuesday's) because they blast the music there. If I can't hear what the person sitting across the table is saying to me, the music is definitely too loud!

    Rose

  6. #5
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    Thank you for your feedback, Rose

    Yes, it is legal to play music in a public place, provided a private license or a special tax is paid (varies according to the country).
    There are also handy softwares that allow for a custom airing of the music (e.g. in a specific order and at specific hours), so practicality wouldn't be an issue. I thought about that precisely because I wouldn't like the customers to become overwhelmed by both the volume and the amount of music; sometimes it is good to have quiet moments.

    But maybe my initial example of enqueuing five songs and then stop for a couple of minutes isn't appropriate, as you suggest. It would be better to either play more songs or increase the gap between each song. Or play non-stop... depending on customers' will, if my attempts do not satisfy them.

  7. #6
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    I'd recommend music all the time. Definitely something that sets the appropriate mode.Spotify premium would be a good option for you, it's only 9.99/month, commercial free and you can play pretty much anything you want, you could create different playlists for different times of the day, whatever you want!

    edit**(after realizing how promotional that sounds I'd like to say that for the record I am in no way associated with or paid by Spotify)

  8. #7
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    One of things that I love is the music in the background at my favorite watering holes. It sets a mood and I think that is important. However you may choose to turn down the music during certain times. I would think that there are times in the morning that would benefit from a more silent atmosphere. At night you can get a great vibe going playing the right stuff at a good level.

    Personally I like it and think it should be played non-stop. Hope this helps.

  9. #8
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    coffiend - Spotify, like Pandora, is for personal, non-commercial use only. So I would not recommend it.
    John Piquet
    caffe d'bolla
    Salt Lake City, UT
    twitter.com/caffedbolla

  10. #9
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    Thanks for the additional inputs

  11. #10
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    Hey Flatron,

    I just happened to write a blog post about this the other day. In my experience, if you are in the US, you must pay music licensing fees unless you are playing music through the radio -- but then you have commercials. If you don't start paying the license fees right away, the music licensing organizations will eventually catch up with you and let you know you are in violation. Generally they send you a letter/form that basically just says hey you haven't been paying the licensing fees and this is how much you owe.

    My shop has been open for just over 2 years now and we've run through a lot of different music providers. When we first opened there was no commercial version of Pandora. Now that there is, I must say, it is hard to go wrong with it. It costs $25 a month and all you need is an internet connection and sound system.

    With regards to how we handle music in the shop, we have a mix of open mic nights and individual live performances. When those are not going on we are playing Pandora (commercial version).

    We have long hours ie: 7am-11pm Mon-Thur and 7am-1am Fri/Sat. We play music the entire time. Pandora is awesome because you can really customize the music to your tastes, is really easy to setup and all the licensing fees are handled through the monthly fee.

    Costs:

    $300-$500/year Licensing for live music, open mic twice a week and occasional one off performances
    $25/month for Pandora/DMX comercial service.

    Hope that helps!

    I can send you the link to the blog post if it helps, I can't post links in the forums yet.

    Evan Closson
    Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Company

 

 
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