Ask the experts – how do I play music at my pop-up?

When you’re making a space your own, especially for a short period of time, music plays as a key a part in conveying your brand’s identity, values and personality as much as the physical space itself.

If you’re looking for scientific evidence, among several other findings this widely cited study from 2007 found that people who visited an open-air market stall spent more time there, and were more likely to buy something, if pleasant background music was played compared to if no music was played at all.

Get the right licences

In the UK, if you’re playing recorded music in a business for your staff or customers, in most cases you’ll need a PRS licence and a PPL licence. If the space hosts pop ups regularly, they may already have these in place so check before you apply for your own. Otherwise you may be able to ask your landlord to apply, and pay for the portion that relates to your tenancy.

Pre-programmed playlists

If you already know what style of music you want to use, there are some services that offer relatively low-cost pre-programmed playlists through their own streaming platforms.

A note about Spotify and similar streaming services like Deezer, Rdio and Napster here – these services are licensed for non-commercial use only, so it’s best to steer clear of these than risk breaching licence terms.

Some other commercial alternatives are Muzo, Emerge Media and Secret DJ.

Curated playlists

For a more measured and bespoke approach, get a music curator or playlist designer involved to create a tailored soundtrack for your pop up. A playlist designer will discuss your specific requirements and help build a soundtrack of individually selected songs and artists to fit your pop up.

Choosing the music your customers hear when they are in your space or at your event is like seasoning a recipe – neglect it and risk appearing bland but get it right and it can only enhance the impact and memorability of the main event.

Advice written by Nisha Lakhani from Storyboard Music

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