13 September 2016

BUSINESS - PetSmart Adds Mood Music for Pets and Sales

People are used to the being serenaded by “muzak,” that ubiquitous music first found in elevators and now found everywhere from grocery stores to call centres.

Now PetSmart will be bringing their own mood music to each of their 1450+ stores and PetsHotel boarding facilities.

PetSmart has hired Mood Media to develop playlists that will appeal to customers and employees in their stores.

The PetsHotel locations will have “modern mellow tunes” to help keep their animal guests calm, and these playlists will also be used when rescue groups host adoption events at PetSmart locations.

Although music for human shoppers is pretty standard, introducing music for companion animals is fairly new.

But there is science to support PetSmart’s move to use music in their PetsHotel facilities and during adoption events.

Pets do appreciate music, and they are particularly interested in species-specific music. The right sounds can have a positive effect on animals, helping keep them calm even in stressful situations.

Some animals, including dogs, appreciate sounds in the same range that humans do.

Charles Snowdon, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an expert in animal responses to music, told National Geographic that music made for humans has “positive effects on dogs, elephants, and chimpanzees, and negative or no effects on gibbons, baboons, horses, and lambs.”

The reason is that animals prefer music with rhythms and tempos similar to what they find within their own species.

So cats prefer music that includes the pitch changes and sliding vocalizations that they’re used to, and tamarins prefer music that has a quicker tempo to match the tempo of their calls, which is much faster than human speech.

The right music can even increase egg production in chickens and milk production in dairy cows, and despite the fact that animals often prefer species-specific music, there is evidence of empathetic responses when listening to cross-species songs.

One can assume the decision to play specific types of music is as much for PetSmart's retail business as it is for the animals.

Numerous studies have shown that different types of background music can impact sales, with low tempo music increasing purchases in retail stores and restaurants, and classical music inspiring shoppers to buy more expensive merchandise.

Mood Media global senior vice president, Danny Turner, told CBS that they were searching for “a solution that combined both organic textures and atmospheric styles.”

Mood Media is a global company that supplies music for high end spas and hotels throughout the world, and PetSmart is counting on them bringing the same attention to detail and quality to this project.

“Muzak” has become a term associated with any background music found in public spaces, but the word comes from Muzak, the company that first popularized music in elevators and shopping spaces in the 1930s and 1940s. Mood Media purchased Muzak Holdings in 2011.

By Tiffany Sostar
Tiffany is a writer, editor, academic, and animal lover who came late to her appreciation of pets. At 18, a rescue pup named Tasha saved her from a depression and she hasn't looked back. She has worked as the canine behaviour program coordinator for the Calgary Humane Society, and was a dog trainer specializing in working with fearful and reactive dogs for many years. She doesn't have any pets right now, but makes up for it by giving her petsitting clients (and any dogs she comes across on her frequent coffee shop adventures) extra snuggles.

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