/ Shopping

Which shops play the most annoying background music?

Fingers in ears

We’ve had lots of requests to cover annoying music in shops, from radio stations in supermarkets to pop hits in tech stores. So we want to know which shops and music irritates you the most.

A bunch of Which? members have been in in touch to tell us how annoying they find it when they’re forced to listen to music in shops.

I must admit, I only ever notice if it’s a song I particularly don’t like – or if it’s too early in November for me to be able to stomach festive pop.

I’ve got particularly fond memories of Gorillaz’s ‘Dare’ coming on in a clothes shop, and all the customers and staff spontaneously dancing along. But, for me, shop music is generally something that usually washes over me. Or does it?

How music in shops affects you

There have been numerous studies that have discovered that the volume, speed and type of music played does have an effect on a shopper’s behaviour.

Unsurprisingly, loud music makes people spend less time in a shop. If you’re in a supermarket, music doesn’t affect how much you buy, but it does mean you make your way through the store more quickly. This means that the supermarket can get customers in and out more quickly, freeing up space in the car park and at tills, without seeing a drop in profits.

Slower music is likely to result in shoppers spending more time in a store, and thus buying more. And classical music is more likely to make people spend more compared to pop.

But if a shop gets the type of music wrong (the latest pop hits for over-25s, or easy listening for under-25s) then customers reportedly think that they’ve spent more time in store than they actually have.

So, with all this research to hand, which shops are getting their music wrong and what is it that’s irritating their customers so much? Are there any particular shops that stand out for you for their poorly-chosen, too-loud music? Or are you a shop worker who’s being driven mad by the same songs being played on a loop?

And do you feel the same about music in restaurants and pubs?

Comments
Guest
Philip Vaughan says:
27 May 2015

Music in restaurants and pubs is even worse than in shops. In a shop you can quickly get what you need and then escape – in a restaurant or pub you are there for pleasure so noise pollution is even more annoying. Sometimes it is difficult to find places which are unspoilt.

Guest
Geoff Brett says:
29 May 2015

This is a huge bugbear. We recently stayed a few days at an Old English Inns hotel, where all
meals had to be taken to the accompaniment of drooling pop music – nothing fun or attractive, just
whining ‘ballads’. This is extremely annoying at breakfast when you would think a bit of peace and quiet would be just right. We were told it couldn’t be turned off, as it was required by company policy. Same thing applies at Loch Fyne restaurants; in that case I wrote to the Marketing Director, and got a quick reply expressing regret (possibly at my lack of taste) and an assurance that at a future visit staff would turn the music down. Nothing changed. At Waterstones – a bookshop for goodness sake – the same regime applies. Anyone remember 1984?

Guest
Sally says:
30 May 2015

Don’t give up on Waterstones, Geoff. The Chief Executive, James Daunt, doesn’t like background music himself but he is leaving it up to each individual Waterstones manager to decide whether or not to stop playing it. Many branches of Waterstones have stopped playing instore music since James Daunt took over. If your local Waterstones branch refuses to stop it because “everyone likes it”, you might like to point out that their own CEO doesn’t!

Guest
CarolSue says:
31 May 2015

I agree that music in restaurants is as bad as music in shops. When eating in a restaurant one normally wants to enjoy a meal and have a pleasant conversation with friends – not to have to try to speak above the music. I have often found that restaurants are happy to turn the music down, so it’s always worth asking.

I find music in shops very distracting and often just leave without buying anything.

Do people really want it? I also feel sorry for the staff who have to put up with it all day.

Guest
Anita Brown says:
31 May 2015

If the music is loud when we enter a restaurant we turn round and go out. However, sometimes the volume increases mid-meal and then we are stuck with it. Sometimes a word with the staff will result in the volume being turned down but not always. Gentle background music is acceptable and in some cases welcome, but the music should never interfere with conversation.

Guest

So-called ‘fine dining’ is sometimes worse for music. Some hotels have really good restaurants with excellent cuisine and service but the effect is ruined by a nauseating pseudo-romantic tape-loop that hasn’t been changed in a generation.

For some of those who dislike music in restaurants there is another option. Go to one of those establishments where the the kitchen is open to the dining area and there is a constant banging and clattering of pans accompanied by multi-lingual shouting. When your meal comes after all that mucking about it’s on a bit driftwood with the chips in a bucket. But there you go.

Some pubs have got the wrong idea altogether. We can put up with a bit of background music in the easy-going casual environment of pubs, many of which are half-empty at lunchtime, but then they decide to put the television on as well and the only person watching it is also making a racket with the amusement machines. At least Wetherspoons have silent fruit machines, no music, and no TV’s [although some of them have silent screens showing videos and promo tapes]. Luckily, living in the country, we have a fabulous choice of old village inns with nothing to disturb our enjoyment but the crackling log fire and the lively conversation of the regulars at the bar [I think the current term is ‘banter’].

Thank goodness Which? hosts a polite and decent Conversation and not Rants and Banter.

Guest

Damn, I had ‘Which? Rants & Banter’ on my list of names for the new Convo 😉 Joke!

Guest

“old village inns with nothing to disturb our enjoyment but the crackling log fire and the lively conversation”. To some, John, I predict this will also be annoying – so perhaps a campaign to ban talking in restaurants? All conversations could be carried on in text messages by phubbing? Can you cancel those irritating beeps though?

Guest

I note that Which? has another Conversation going on about piped music in restaurants; have a search for ‘Your view: music in restaurants’

Guest
Guest

Thanks Richard. I wasn’t paying attention when I posted the comments above! Once you have followed a link to a particular comment you don’t necessarily appreciate that you have entered the wrong Conversation by mistake.

Guest

Has anyone had a bad experience with piped music in Dunelm stores? I have avoided going to my local one many times, and have been driven out by noise pollution on two occasions.

I have just had a very pleasant telephone conversation with a lady from Dunelm, who was responding to the feedback I provided following some recent visits. I provided her with plenty of information about piped music and pointed her to this forum with an indication of the number of comments received here. She promised to forward my observations to the appropriate people within the organisation, and I will report back with any results.

I did point out that apart from the noise, Dunelm stores are excellent in every way.

Guest

Patrick (Which?)

I am signed up for notifications on several conversations but nothing seems to be happening. Please could you let us know if there is a problem and if we need to do anything to overcome it.

Thanks

Guest

Hi Richard, sorry about that. We’re still experiencing a few problems with the reminder notifications. However, I can assure you that we’re investigating and expecting a fix soon 🙂

Guest
Lesley Tan says:
3 June 2015

Patronising member of staff at Ena Mill Atherton claims that he has never heard of anyone not liking music being played in his store. Invited to visit on a Saturday afternoon when the store is full of people not complaining. Perhaps if the store was not playing music it might have been full on a weekday.

Guest
John Hard says:
4 June 2015

Fully support the actions of Tony Cooper. Never had the nerve to actually walk out but have regularly asked for the music in restaurants to be turned off but never succesful – usually met with the phrase “We are unable/not allowed to turn it off” – this occurred recently at the Premier Inn in Bodmin where the background babble continued through both breakfast and dinner – no quiet area available – the only choice would have been to eat outside.(on a separate topic the management of this chain told me that as they upgrade their hotels it is their policy to remove electric shaver sockets from bathrooms which strikes me as really stupid). Having just returned from France I can’t recall any music in a Restaurant during 2 weeks but there was still plenty of ‘atmosphere’.Although it couldn’t be classed as ‘fine dining’ I believe Wetherspoons do not have background music.Finally HSBC banks also have annoying background babble from their own radio station – very difficult to concentrate with Rod Stewart blaring in your ear.

Guest
K Marshall says:
3 July 2015

Yes, HSBC, horrible. Expected me to discuss finances with some awful noise blaring. Closed my account.

Guest
Laura says:
6 June 2015

I recently ate at two different restaurants in Edinburgh. Both had fabulous food. One, Locanda di Gusti played sophisticated and subtle jazz music that created a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. The other, Three Birds, played pounding rock music which meant my friend and I could not wait to get out of there!

Guest
Dax says:
6 June 2015

Laura

I am glad you enjoyed one of your meals. The problem is that, though I appreciate your point that it was played softly, people don’t like the same kind of music – I strongly dislike all kinds of jazz and would almost certainly have been very irritated by it.

One could say that the two restaurants offered a choice between rock and jazz, but what I would like is more places that offer the choice of no music at all.

Guest
Chris says:
12 August 2015

As with food, music is a matter of taste. I would find the jazz at least as distracting as the rock music. Possibly more so!

Guest
Jenny Mollison says:
12 June 2015

Background music is a nightmare for those of us with modern digital hearing aids which are programmed to home in on the most relevant sound at any given time. Obviously in a restaurant or shop the most important sound to the hearing aid wearer is speech – asking staff, assistants etc and conversing with fellow diners is priority. Even background music, with the occasional louder bits, causes complete havoc and can wreck an evening out or make it impossible to hear the answers to enquiries of shop assistants.
On another topic, carpets in restaurants help to deaden extraneous sounds!

Guest
Sally Cartwright says:
12 June 2015

My husband and I have just returned from a 5 week tour around the US, so we had to eat in restaurants at least twice a day for 38 days – a total of 76 restaurants. In just two were we able to eat in quiet. My husband is rather deaf, so we were always unable to have a normal conversation. Please, please, do not let this country go the same way!

Guest
lizbie says:
3 July 2015

I’m astonished. I travel extensively in the US, over 20+ states, and I have never had to be subjected to music! If it is present in a US restaurant, all you have to do is tell (not ask) them to turn it down or off. Unlike the UK, in the US it is the customer, not the staff, who rule. Try it next time.

Guest
Sally says:
17 June 2015

I see Aldi has just won Which? Award as best supermarket of the year. No background music in Aldi. Perhaps other supermarkets, such as ASDA, the Co-op and Morrisons, need to realise that piped music is unnecessary for a successful business.

Guest
K Marshall says:
3 July 2015

Yes. I drove further to go to Waitrose and Aldi because they have no noise.

Guest
Viola says:
20 August 2015

Agree Co-op’s so-called ‘music’ is so unpleasant that I will drive further to Waitrose for a really pleasant shop or if I can’t justify that, rush round Co-op only buying essentials so I can get out ASAP as it isn’feasible to shop with both fingers in your ears.

Guest
Phil Munro says:
20 June 2015

We managed to complete our grocery shopping in Oundle Coop but were driven out by the noise of their in-house radio. We complained then went to Waitrose to buy £100’s worth of beer and wine. We were told by the charming Coop lady that the radio gives them “advertising space”……didn’t work did it?
If outlets were music- free would anyone bother to demand it?
We walked out of a pretentious bistro ( cafe) the other day……the coffee machine was going through its grinding phase…..as were our teeth!

Guest
K Marshall says:
3 July 2015

I HATE ‘music’ in shops and cafes. There are many shops that I wouldn’t even dream of entering due to the noise. If I have to go in some shops then I wear earplugs and get in and out as soon as possible. If a restaurant or cafe has loud noise then we just walk straight out again. Some of the most annoying background noise is the ‘music’ that’s competing with loads of people talking. M&S cafe in Cardiff Queen St is one of the worst places I know for that. It always amazes me that retail analysts don’t realise that background noise is probably one of the main reasons why shops lose customers. I’d never consider going in Morrisons to shop because I hate being bombarded with their music noise. I drive further to find a quiet supermarket. I’m not alone in this. Many of my friends and relations agree. I also read a book recently about the onset of dementia in elderly people and how they find it impossible to think straight or function in shops and other places where they are being accosted by awful loud noise. It should be banned. I feel so sorry for employees who are unable to escape from this. It would seriously affect my mental health if I was in their position. It’s a scourge of modern life.

Guest

This morning I was in Newcastle. After being driven out of both Fenwicks and Debenhams by the loud music, I thought I would be safe in John Lewis. Sadly Newcastle John Lewis is polluted by muzac from its Benefits makeup franchise and, even worse, the music from “Joe & the Juice” was literally pouring (sorry!) into its ladies fashion floor. If John Lewis, who has always emphasised it is “muzac-free”, is succumbing to piped music, what hope is there? If you dislike background music, and like shopping in John Lewis, please e-mail or write to them!

Guest

Re John Lewis. Much good will it do you to write to them. I did that some time ago and had the reply that the decision about music in their franchises was a ‘business’ one and that it was final. Further attempts to reach the CEO simply went unacknowledged.

Guest

Writing can make a difference. When the Edinburgh branch of John Lewis introduced the Hotel Chocolat franchise which played loud piped music, several people complained. As a result the local manager assured us that he was monitoring the volume of music closely to make sure it didn’t intrude into the adjoining fashion departments. John Lewis has stuck to its promise and, more than a year on, the music in Hotel Chocolat is scarcely audible. Nor does the Benefits makeup franchise play music in John Lewis Edinburgh, even though it pollutes the whole surrounding area in Boots. This is why I was so disappointed to see what had happened in Newcastle John Lewis. Perhaps no-one has written to complain about the Newcastle branch?
It’s not easy to keep writing if you have received negative feedback, as you have with John Lewis, l Johnston. I have certainly got to the end of the road with M&S (for the time being, anyway!). However, the more people who write to complain, the more chance there is that businesses will listen. After all, this Which? conversation alone illustrates the strength of feeling there is on this topic.

Guest
Sally says:
11 July 2015

I agree. I know of someone who wrote to John Lewis because a speaker had been left on quite loudly in their audio department when no customer was actually testing it. John Lewis apologised that this had been allowed to happen and issued complimentary refreshment vouchers for two as a goodwill gesture. It can be worth writing!

Guest

Delighted to say I e-mailed the CEO at John Lewis yesterday about the background music in the Newcastle branch and had a very full reply today from the Newcastle manager. This is what she said:

‪”I was very sorry to read your email to Andy Street, Managing Director, Department Stores, following your recent visit to John Lewis Newcastle. As Head of Branch in Newcastle, I am best placed to respond to your concerns.

‪I am sorry that you found the music being played in two sections of the branch intrusive and please accept my apologies if this spoiled your visit with us. You will be pleased to know that we are not going down the path of playing background music in our shops and there should not have been music playing at the Benefit counter on the day you visited. Your mail has served as a timely reminder for my team to review their operating procedures to ensure compliance to this.

‘Joe & the Juice’, our new catering establishment which has recently opened on the first floor is a different concept to Hotel Chocolat in Edinburgh, to which you refer. Playing music is an integral part of the Joe & the Juice brand culture as they believe this will increase dwell time amongst the customers they are looking to attract. However, the volume should be pitched at a level which is deemed enhancing to the customer experience and not in any way intrusive. I have shared your concerns with our Catering Manager, who will agree an acceptable level with the team in this area.‬

‪I am genuinely very sorry that you felt this detracted from your overall shopping experience in our branch, as this was never our intention. I do hope that your next visit to Newcastle will be a more enjoyable one and I thank you for bringing this matter to our attention so that we can improve the shopping experience for all of our customers”. ‬

Guest
Frances judd says:
13 July 2015

I find music in shops annoying, Bar Hill Tesco is always playing music and at Christmas it is seasonal songs – I feel sorry for the staff. Funny enough, when HO managers visit this store the music is switched off! Because of an operation I have lost hearing in my left ear so am particularly aware of annoying music noise. I want to listen to music in the comfort of my own home. In restaurants, if you are unlucky to be seated under a loudspeaker you cannot hear the conversation of the other people. I used to bank at HSBC but HO decided that they would play music in my branch so I closed my accounts there. HO take no account of customers who are hard of hearing or deaf.

Guest
Les. Hayward says:
9 August 2015

I don’t mind a bit of background music, but the screeching, yowling females which drone out in Morrisons is quite beyond the pale. Yes, it makes me get out quickly – thus forgetting to buy stuff I would otherwise have done. Nice one chaps – how to lose sales in one easy lesson.

Guest

Morrisons do seem to play the most annoying music of all the major stores. Many of their more recent stores have a very hard acoustic environment which certainly does not help.

Guest
Chris says:
11 August 2015

At the reception desk of a hospital department, sited at the entrance to a waiting area, MUSIC. I explained politely that I could not think and hear music, that if it was supposed to protect privacy (we were all there for the same investigation) I would just have to raise my voice and that being a hearing aid user noted they did not have a loop. It went off, and stayed off. Must write and thank them.

Guest
Chris says:
11 August 2015

Buying petrol at a Sainsbury’s commented on the MUSIC being played. “Wasn’t it Sainsbury’s policy only to have music at Christmas?” and “Doesn’t the store find the licence expensive?” If it had not been so busy would have engaged further, but we did not progress beyond the mindless, “Don’t you like music?” Apparently they always have it on, from a radio on the window ledge.

Guest
Sally says:
12 August 2015

“A radio on the window ledge” doesn’t sound as if it’s part of Sainsbury’s official music system! As far as I can make out, Sainsbury’s does only play background music at Christmas. The exceptions are audio departments in the larger stores, and some of the new mega Sainsbury’s stores, presumably because they think we won’t be able to cope with large spaces and no muzak. If the store you were in isn’t a mega store, I would query it with the (relatively) new CEO, Mike Coupe.

Guest
Chris says:
12 August 2015

Used Facebook to comment on the Sainsbury’s page and have had response to the effect that the service station manager will be alerted and the matter dealt with internally. Happy with that. Agree it was staff entertaining themselves rather than a change of policy.

Guest
Mike Brogden says:
15 August 2015

The radio on the window ledge at the Sainsbury’s petrol station is no doubt unofficial but it’s worth remembering that any radio played in public requires a PRS licence. No doubt the person who brought it to enliven his/her days at the till, won’t be keen to pay the fee.

Guest
Mike Brogden says:
16 August 2015

The notion that music played in a hospital reception area provides privacy is nonsense. It’s the same problem at our local doctors’ surgery where the music is said to cover the patents’ conversations with the receptionists. I have to ask the receptionists to speak up as I can’t hear them above the music. And the music is often badly chosen with miserable songs that visibly upset some patients. Even then, the receptionists refuse to turn it off. In the past, I could turn their intrusive TV off but now with speakers installed in the ceiling, I can’t find a way to silence the din. Is there a device like the brilliant TVBegone remote control that would find the audio system and switch it off?

Guest

I was in a Nationwide branch last week and noticed how, without music, customers could have conversations with the tellers at normal voice levels and it was impossible for customers waiting in line to hear what was being said. There was a general background noise as customers conversed, the everyday sounds of the street when the door was opened, activity at the customer service desk and staff going about their routine business in the branch. So this excuse that “we have installed music in the interests of customer privacy” is nonsense.

Guest
Dave says:
21 August 2015

New reason put forward by RBS for playing music in branches: “starting up non banking conversations”… (Suspect this might not be too popular when you are in a queue!)

Guest

My local Nationwide has a big flat screen television on all day next to the counters. When I complained and said it was annoying and also made life very difficult for their hearing impaired customers, I was told that people got “restless” and irritated if they waited a long time in the queue!

I suggested that they open more service points instead. He got huffy and stalked off.

Guest

At least the TV’s in the Nationwide branches I use are on silent mode relying on the subtitles stripping across the screen, but even these can be annoying and distracting. When I am in the queue I am double-checking my docs, ‘rehearsing’ my enquiry, and trying to anticipate the inane question I shall be asked at some point during my turn at the counter. I don’t need a newsfeed at that time. I would prefer the Nationwide to deploy our reserves in more beneficial ways and keep the customers calm by serving them sooner.

Guest
Brian Bramer says:
27 August 2015

I have been visiting Waitrose supermarkets recently – have noticed apart from the high quality of the products there is no music playing – one can go around the shop in peace and quiet and not be driven out without purchasing half the goods on the shopping list! It does have the downside that the bill is always ends up twice as much as other supermarkets.

Guest

What I also like about Waitrose is that the “staff announcements” are not bellowed at high volumes across the PA system and are in fact very few compared with other supermarkets. Quiet service seems to be ingrained in the company’s culture. Even the delivery man doesn’t whistle as he brings in the groceries.

It is possible to have an economical shop at Waitrose but it is hard to resist the temptation to buy superior products. The absence of music and the greater product satisfaction must be worth paying for to some extent!

Guest

I was in a branch of M&S recently and they were playing a tune I like. I stopped to listen (can’t shop and listen to music at the same time) but was disappointed that I didn’t enjoy it. Then I realised that the reason I didn’t get any pleasure from listening to it was because there was so much other noise going on – people chatting and shopping, noise of the tills, trolleys, etc. This made me wonder why shops play music in this way. Not only are they ruining the shopping experience for people who don’t like music as they shop but they are also ruining the music, too.

Guest
Sally says:
2 September 2015

Couldn’t agree more, Emma. It’s the same in restaurants. Often you can’t hear the actual music at all because everyone is shouting over it to be heard. Then, if you complain, they have the nerve to say, “Oh, don’t you like music then?”

Guest

Hello Which?
The email notifications must have been out of action for more than six months now; I am starting to suspect a hidden motive! Perhaps you are hoping to cut short conversations in order to cut down your workload? I wouldn’t blame you if that were the case, but the notifications are very useful, so please could we have them back?

Guest

Hi Richard! No conspiracy – it broke a long time ago, true. But we’ve been working to redevelop the website (as hopefully you can see!). This includes new email subscriptions – you can now subscription to just get emails with replies to the comments you’ve made if you like.

Unfortunately, we haven’t yet been able to carry over your previous subscriptions. This is on our list, but if you’d like to get the emails straight away, please do subscription again by clicking ‘Follow this conversation by email’ and then your preferred option’ when you post your next comments.

Guest
Chris says:
7 September 2015

Hoping to follow instructions and start to get alerts for all new comments again.

Meanwhile is there ever going to be a way to see comments from newest to oldest?

Guest

Hi Chris, we did have that on our list, where you could sort the comments from newest to oldest, top voted etc. I’m afraid it fell out of scope, but I’ll keep it on the list for possible future inclusion.

Guest

Thank you Patrick; your new website is very nice and I look forward to notifications!

Guest

Thanks very much Richard. Yes, let me know if you have any trouble. By the way, we have a full FAQ here if you need any help: https://conversation.which.co.uk/frequently-asked-questions/

Guest

I don’t know if admin will accept the link; it’s just a humorous comment on people playing music out loud on public transport. We could all use Mr Spock travelling with us.

Jokes aside, is this really so different from being forced to listen to music in shops and restaurants? Isn’t the principle ( and the experience) the same?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gr82dZpCr48

Guest

Contributors who suspected that the music licence collectors are using inaccurate data, might be interested to know that the Advertising Standards Authority have upheld a complaint (Ref: A15-309437/ER) against them. PPL have acknowledged that “several of the claims are inaccurate as they do not make clear that they relate to a subset of the population that likes listening to music in the particular scenarios listed”. The ASA also highlighted other areas for PPL to consider. “These include potentially ambiguous claims, such as ‘74% agree that music makes customers happier’, which actually relates solely to ‘small retailers’; claims that don’t appear to have any basis in the surveys provided; and those which involve a very small sample size.”

Guest

Thank you Dorothy for reporting those rulings from the ASA. Those companies that have relied on dubious public attitude surveys should be required to review and amend their policies. What is so disappointing with this issue is that none of the retailers who play music have acknowledged the distress and in some cases pain that it causes to people with hearing impairment and disability. How do they still fail to understand the requirements of the 45-years old Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970, and the only slightly younger Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 [and its derivative regulations]?

Guest

I returned a few hours ago from the small Shropshire town of Clun, where I had a bizarre experience. Upon approaching the public toilets I heard music from within; I assumed it was youngsters playing about so I waiting before entering. Eventually I went in; to my surprise and bewilderment there was no-one there, and the noise was coming from loudspeakers in the ceiling. Upon exiting I found several other people outside, all in a similar state of bemusement or bewilderment, wondering what on earth was going on. If I were a resident of Clun I would be writing to the council to ask how much taxpayers’ money was being spent on the music licence; I would not be surprised to find that it is costing hundreds of pounds a year.

Guest

Were they playing the Water music, by any chance?

Guest

Hi everyone, we’ve invited Action on Hearing Loss, who are planning a campaign on this subject, to write about music in restaurants: https://conversation.which.co.uk/travel-leisure/loud-music-cafes-pubs-restaurants-bars-shops/

Guest
Suze says:
3 December 2015

Transport for London have released a document that describes what new tube stations of the future might look like.

The report suggests that “pleasant smells” and music be introduced to stations. So, along with more inescapable piped music, we will now have to put up with “piped smells”?

Guest

I went with my wife the other day to HMV, now the only store in York with a small selection of ‘World Cinema’ titles on DVD. The ‘music’ was deafening and any discussion about suitable choices impossible. The whole experience was vile as a consequence. The idea of browsing in the face of such an onslaught was unthinkable. Admittedly, we are in our late 50s/early 60s but I can’t believe that many people really appreciated it.

Thank you to my friend Sophia for alerting me to the existence of ‘Pipedown’ – I shall spread the word!

Guest

So long as I can remember, HMV shops have always played music because that is mostly what they used to sell but it has become much noisier lately and a lot of the sound is not music as performances by artistes but as sound-tracks for films and games. The internet has done for high street music sales outside of niche retailers and the rest of digital entertainment is going the same way so you probably won’t be troubled by HMV and similar shops for much longer.

Guest

It looks as if Hammerson, who manage some of the biggest shopping malls/retail outlets (Brent Cross, Bullring, Bicester Village, etc) are thinking of phasing out loud pop music because so many of their customers dislike it and it is bad for business. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35154100

Guest

Music is hardly necessary in shopping malls because the stores have their own “background” music; it’ll be nice to be able to escape back into the mall for a bit of peace and quiet. I hope others follow suit.

Guest

Perhaps it’s a special concession to the Christmas season but M&S in Norwich had no music playing yesterday for once. So disappointed – deprived of a complaint opportunity [or have they taken note of customer feedback perchance?]

Guest

My local M&S had distorted Christmas music from a small CD player placed on a high shelf, the same as last Christmas. I bought a wooly jumper and left promptly. Tesco did the same the following Sunday.

Guest
Sally says:
23 December 2015

wavechange, my Tesco Express did the same thing last Christmas. They were playing Christmas music on an old tinny audio player. The sound was excruciating. I don’t usually complain about Christmas music but I felt really sorry for the staff having to listen to that all day long. When I got home I sent an email to Tesco Customer Services and was amazed at how quickly they responded. It turned out that the manager was delighted someone had complained because he was allowed to turn it off. He admitted the music was being played through a “relic”. Pleased to say I haven’t heard any music there since. All I can think is that stores such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s, which don’t normally play music, are allowed to do so at Christmas. But nobody is actually checking what equipment they are using to play it. Please complain if it’s distorted, even if it’s just for the sake of the staff.

Guest

Hi Sally – Someone may have beaten me to it. 🙂 I called into Tesco to collect a prescription this evening and there was no music – distorted or otherwise.

Guest

M&S say that it is very rare for them to receive a complaint about their music, John. Yes, that made me splutter into my cornflakes, too. I was writing to them after a gap of more than 2½ years because, although they had turned it down, they were still playing background music during the 2 minute silence and I felt that was unacceptable. Hope you are right about your Norwich store. I got very excited about our local M&S a couple of years ago when the music ceased playing over Christmas and New Year. Unfortunately it turned out to be a fault in the system (but it was off for 3 weeks…)

Guest

I called in to Tesco yesterday afternoon and was dismayed to hear music, quite loud in parts of the store. I made some urgent purchases and then asked to speak to the manager. He arrived and explained that the music was because it was ‘Blue Monday’ – which he went on to explain was the most depressing day of the year. It had not been depressing up to that point.

Guest
Debbie says:
18 April 2016

Oh my God. Can I please just mention HOMEBASE and their racket that is seemingly repeated all day long every day, mostly none of it good. I have friends who work in there and they come home traumatised and crying. All staff can’t wait to put earplugs in when all the customers leave. And why oh why do they force the music to be played after the shops close? It’s just torture on the poor staff. God help their mental health.

Guest
Gavin says:
18 April 2016

Oh definitely Home Retail Group, without question, which currently runs Homebase. They get their music streamed through from Mood Media, which supposedly is to benefit the customer experience. Yet all I hear are crap song after crap song all day long, does my bloody head in it really does, and the worst thing is there is no escape. Even after we shut we have to put up with it on. Please get them to change it to something less shit, preferably nothing or something with more variety and quality at least. And not just a load of total crappiness.

Guest

We can see how awful it must be from the language you use. Luckily our usual Homebase store doesn’t have music so it’s probably a local issue and some concerted action by staff might have some effect on the management.

Guest
Darvek says:
18 April 2016

Background music – good or bad – is a vile phenomenon. It’s not a question of how terrible the music is (though the worse it is, the worse the experience), but having any music at all is a loathsome thing; besides, it is an insult to good music, so why not have SILENCE?

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