Music Systems for Background Music and Foreground Music

Torrence has been providing specialty music systems for use in commercial, industrial, and retail environments since 1928. We understand the unique needs of our commercial customers. Torrence technology solutions should be of simple, pragmatic, and scalable music system designs that will operate reliably, sometimes serving tens of thousands of square feet, with little maintenance, ideally for the life of the facility, which may approach fifty years. At Torrence we’ve become experts at balancing artistic style with music system durability.

Frank Mramor


 System Sales Consultant

Phone: 419.661.0678
Fax: 419 666-7335
fmramor@torrencesound.com

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hed-industForeground Music and 
Background Music Systems

A commercial sound system or music system should be carefully designed around the nature of your business. Generally speaking there are two broad types of music to consider; foreground music or background music.

Foreground Music Systems

Foreground music is meant for active listening. Foreground music can grab your customers’ attention, excite them, and engage them. Foreground music is a very powerful tool to use for branding. Foreground music can play a big part in defining your image, drawing the right people and can even be used for advertising.

A foreground music system can be used to influence brand perception.  According to one study, customers perceived a sports retail chain as being “cool and modern” when upbeat, fast tempo music was played but “tired and dull” when slow rock music was played.  A. North, D. Hargreaves and J. McKendrick (1999) – The Influence of In-Store Music on Wine Selection

Foreground music systems may allow an establishment to attract different types of customers.  In a study were customers rated a bar on 11 characteristics, the results provided clear evidence that different music styles and the volume of the music influenced the customers’ perceptions of the bar.  There was some evidence that the nature of the customers’ perceptions of the bar was related positively to their perception of the music.  For example, the more that customers perceived the music as being “invigorating,” the more the bar was also perceived in this way. 
Dr. A.C. North, David J. Hargreaves, and Jennifer McKendrick (1988)

Background Music Systems

As opposed to foreground music, background music can bathe your customers in luxurious, plush sounds that will allow them to enjoy their experience while focusing on their work or your merchandise. Research has shown that background music, though many times not consciously noticed by customers, has psychological effects on people and can lead to increased time in stores and increased sales.

Fitness centers, health spas, bars, and fitting rooms are places where creating a relaxing environment with a background music system can influence your customers’ behavior. One study showed that music played in a dentist office reduced the anxiety and stress levels of females while undergoing “a crown preparation procedure,” however, there were no significant effects on males. Goff, L.C., Pratt, R. R. & Madrigal, J. L. (1997)

In another study testing the effects of a background music system, it was found that playing French music lead to French wine outselling German wine 3 to 1 but when German music was played, German wine outsold French wine 2 to 1.  When questioned about their purchases, they claimed to be unaware of any effects and denied being influenced by the music. A. North, D. Hargreaves and J. McKendrick (1999) – The Influence of In-Store Music on Wine Selection
A background music system will attract and prolong customer visits. It has been shown that there is a link between tempo of music and the activity of customers in different settings.  In a grocery store, it took customers longer to move between two defined points when slow music was played than when fast music was played.  More money was spent under the slower music conditions, perhaps because of the longer amount of time in the store.  Millman (1982)

Boosting employee morale and increasing productivity are other examples of what background music systems or foreground music systems can do for your business. 

Regardless of whether a foreground music system or background music system is the correct style for your business, a music system expertly installed by Torrence Sound will deepen your relationship with your customers.