7 Questions to Ask Your Music Service Provider

Front of vintage jukebox
Image: DutchScenery / iStock / Getty Images Plus

The music you play in your bar, restaurant, hotel or casino is crucial. It makes a statement and defines your brand.

Playing the right music can encourage guests to order more, stay longer and return more frequently.

Here we’ll focus on what questions to ask when looking for a music service provider for your venue:


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1. Are you an interactive or non-Interactive service?

Think of a jukebox as an “interactive” service: guests can pick and choose what they want to hear at any time. A “non-interactive” service might be an owner-curated playlist on an iPod or computer.  If you don’t want your guests (or staff) choosing your music, then you want a non-interactive service.

2. Do you pick the music or do I have to choose it?

Some services may require you to personally choose the songs you want to hear from a list in their collective database. They also may then require you to create your own playlists. Do you have the time (or the knowledge) to perform these tasks? If not, let the experts do the work.

3. How many songs are in your database or on each channel?

This is important to know if you want to avoid hearing the same songs every day (and driving your staff and regulars crazy). Look for a minimum of at least 1,000 songs on any one channel of music.

4. Are your channels dayparted?

Think of playing music in your venue as you would your breakfast, lunch and dinner menus: different selections with different pricing per meal period. Your music should therefore reflect this approach—you don’t want to play the same music from open to close.

5. Is your service properly licensed?

Playing music in a hospitality venue requires paying certain licensing bodies (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and SOCAN). Make sure your music service provider pays these fees. 

6. Is there a long-term contract to sign?

Some services may require you to sign a one-, three- or five-year contract. Others may simply allow you to end the relationship at any time. Understand your rights in this important area.

7. Are there any hardware costs?

You may be required to purchase certain pieces of equipment to utilize a particular service.  Others may require you to use your smart phone or personal computer to use their program.  Find out what’s required before you sign up.

Keeping these tips in mind will help you make the best decision for your venue. Drop me an email at [email protected] if you need further guidance in this area.

About the Author

Wyatt Magnum is President of the Magnum Music Group based in Los Angeles, CA. MMG has created soundtracks for thousands of hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs throughout the world. Magnum is a frequent guest lecturer and author on the topic of recorded entertainment programming. In fact, Magnum spoke about selecting the right music service, understanding music licensing, dayparting, beats-per-minute, and music genres that make money at the 2018 Nightclub & Bar Show. You can reach him on the web at www.magnummusicgroup.com.

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