Years ago, music used in groceries was sound-tracked using bland, easy-to-listen musak. Now supermarket giants are using strategically-designed playlists that seem to encourage customers to sing and dance in the aisles because the pop hits are too familiar and make them feel good. Even the staff that mans the ID card printer at a corner of the supermarket sings along with the music and taps his feet in time with the tune.
Supermarket music is now a thriving way to introduce new Australian artists. Retail music has literally become the new media and working with record labels to build the profile of upcoming artists is absolutely the key.
18 months ago, Pandora streaming service made a specialized playlist for BWS, an alcohol retailer which led to a partnership with Woolworths. According to Rick Gleave of Pandora, the relationship with Woolworths is exposing music to at least 17 million shoppers each week in 970 retail stores. These numbers can no longer be ignored and supermarkets are taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the playlists.
Supermarkets are now creating playlists that resemble commercial radio stations with changes in mood and genre at different times of the day and night with lucrative ads. One example is Coles that partnered with radio giant Nova 4 years ago. The in-store radio station became so successful that Coles Radio became the number digital station in Australia.
Coles Radio runs like any ordinary radio station with 150,000 listeners in homes, cars and stores. In-store music in other retail outlets are programmed in advance and even allows staff to put in their request for their favorite music. Coles Radio is tweaked every day and updated per minute. When Harry Styles released a new song at 5 PM, it went straight away to Coles Radio.
When George Michael passed away, Coles Radio was able to pay tribute that played across all the networks. However, like any other radio station, research is very essential. More popular songs usually get higher rotation while those that reach the end of their life cycle are rested. Familiar hits are always played because they make customers feel good about their stay inside the stores.