Research has shown that the type of background music piped through the speakers of your local supermarket can influence the shopping behaviour of the store's customers. Humans are complex animals, and therefore, the science here is also rather complicated and the results are many and varied. But there are some clear rules that stand out, and we’d like to share a few of them with you.
Loud and up tempo musicmakes people move faster through the store - they get in and they get out – but interestingly, they still buy as much as they would have done if they’d have been moving more slowly.
Slow tempo music makes customers move... well... slower. Managers: your supermarket is fuller, it’s busier, and good news - it’s full of customers who also buy more products!
How’s this for interesting? Patriotic music makes customers more likely to buy local products. Makes sense, but wow.
And finally, classical music in a restaurant or store makes people buy greater quantities of more expensive merchandise.
Of course, as a customer, you don’t know that this is happening. That’s the magic of marketing. It’s all completely subconscious.
“Do I really need this expensive, imported Camembert?”
[Vivaldi plays in the background]
“Sod it, I’ll take three!”
You might very well be wondering why this is relevant to this blog, and that’s a fair question. But we were thinking: if music can so readily affect our behaviour in the supermarket, could it then be applied to our behaviour in the bedroom (or wherever else we might be making love)?
Probably not to be honest, but for the purposes of this column, we're going to try anyway.
I suppose that the first thing to note is that this research applies to background music. You and your partner are providing the main act here – don’t let the music take centre stage. If you’re too busy being distracted by whatever’s playing on stereo that you can’t concentrate on the job at hand (or mouth, or wherever), then it’s not going to work out well.
Also, it’s important to consider what sort of lovemaking you are looking for? Do you have hours to spare, or is this just an impromptu quickie between other engagements? If it’s the latter, then obviously something loud and fast is your way forward: perhaps some Speed Metal described as "extremely fast, abrasive, and technically demanding" (lube would surely help here) or Hardcore Techno: "160 to 200 beats per minute with a sometimes fierce atmosphere".
Hectic. To be fair, with a bit of that playing, you’d easily be forgiven for things ending rather quickly: but on the bright side, you’d probably both be grateful for the premature opportunity to turn the noise off, anyway.
So then, how about something much slower, less scary and more romantic? Some soul or some chilled deep house beats while you lie on the bed together, sipping your drinks with the lights down low? Yeah. That’s more like it.
Although, just remember that although this musical research was done in supermarkets, you shouldn’t necessarily borrow the soundtrack directly from your local Pick n Pay as it might also include off-putting announcements like “Thabiso to the Kiosk, please!” or “Clean up on Aisle number 2!”. The timing of that last one can be very embarrassing.
You’ll have noted that in the supermarket research, it was classical music that proved to be the big winner. Some degree of ceremony to go with your pomp then, sir or ma’am? However, if you’re new to classical music, can we just warn you to do a bit of reading first?
Because you still need to be careful when choosing a suitable piece to woo your other half. For example, Beethoven's Bagatelle Op.119/10 only lasts 11 seconds while Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen is a mighty 15 hours long. These variations are definitely going to have an effect on your performance. Maybe head for something more middle of the road, but avoid the Nutcracker Suite for obvious reasons.
Perhaps for us South Africans it’s safer to go with what we know, then. Something close to home which is going to bring with it a bit of nostalgia and some warm, fuzzy feelings. Local is lekker. How about Impi by Johnny Clegg or Shosholoza – after all, it’s a song of encouragement and togetherness?
Ag, we didn’t realise how complicated this was going to be. Maybe it’s actually best just to leave the music off altogether.