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How music builds relationships in teams and with customers

by uma


Music has the power to bring us together. Whether using music to connect retail staff with customers, helping employees’ bond with their employers, or creating a positive morale boost throughout a team, the social benefits of music are powerful and long-lasting. 

Music therapist & expert for music licensing company PPL PRS, Marianne Rizkallah shares how businesses can use the power of music to form trusted relationships in your businesses…

Between staff and customers 

It’s a well-known fact that playing the right music can increase sales. Results from one study1 by HUI Research emphasised a curated playlist as most important, with music representative of the sales demographic’s culture. Moreover, recent research2 by PPL PRS revealed that 66% of shoppers believe that music influences their buying habits (with 27% saying ‘definitely’ and 39% ‘probably’).

But retail managers should be mindful of the type of songs played; research3 in America has shown that sales went up when slower tempo music was played, compared to faster tracks. Research4 in Sweden also found that employee music choices could also be a turn-off for shoppers. 

 It seems most important, then, that businesses such as hairdressers or barbers spend time asking their customers what sort of music they would like to hear during a treatment. And secondly, for employees to collaborate on a general playlist that accommodates everyone’s requests, backgrounds and cultures. Doing this should help to build rapport by encouraging conversation and delving deeper into customer profiling. 

Between employees 

Carefully curating a workplace playlist representing every colleague can help to improve cultural diversity and boost team morale. Whenever a colleague’s song comes on the playlist they will be seen and (literally) heard by everyone else in the office.  

A large study5 of young people across multiple countries showed that listening to music within groups encourages peer cohesion, with music for wellbeing within peer groups appearing across cultural contexts. A shared love of a song between colleagues can provide a confidence boost and spark workplace connections which can lead to better collaboration.  

Research6 by the University of Oxford shows that, as music provides a beat which our ears use as an overall framework to soundtrack our surroundings, it can encourage the release of endorphins which come alive during synchronised activity, even passively listening to music. It’s something that music7 therapists work with all the time, using music to promote connections between us all.

Overall, if employees feel good, they are more likely to be creative8 and productive. Interestingly, PPL PRS10 further found that the preferred genre to power through a to-do list is ‘pop’ with nearly half (43%) with respondents citing that it improved their productivity. This may be due to its up-tempo beat and catchy, often positive lyrics. 

Between employees and their employer 

Finding common ground with your boss is always helpful and anxiety-easing. Music can help with that, by connecting through a favourite band or track, it can promote physiological advantages. One study9 proves this, through the ideation that if two people discover a shared like for a piece of music, they may presume certain positive values in each other; whilst another study10 in the USA has also shown how music can help build rapport between a collective group of individuals.   

Music has the power to enhance an environment and the relationships built within it – whether it’s two office workers bonding over a song they both love, or a retail employee feeling happier and making a positive impression on a customer which sparks a sale. Tuning into the benefits of playing music in means you’re more likely to hit the right note with your staff and customers. So, release these benefits and restore the rhythm in your workplace.  


  1. https://www.fastcasual.com/articles/study-playing-the-right-background-music-increases-sales/
  2. Research performed by Perspectus Global, based on figures from 2,101 UK respondents, September 2021 
  3. https://www.acrwebsite.org/volumes/7467 
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0969698920314247 
  5. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00392/full 
  6. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01096/full 
  7. https://ulir.ul.ie/bitstream/handle/10344/652/CHAPTER 1 Edwards 2011.pdf;sequence=3 
  8. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S074959780800054X 
  9. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi= 
  10. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12144-014-9273-y


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