News release: Music while you wait

Media and Promotion Office (2002) News release: Music while you wait. Other. University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), Preston.

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Have you ever wandered into that record shop in town and promptly hurried back out,
driven backwards by the force of loud, up tempo dance music? Have you ever endured
that interminable wait at the supermarket checkout, a captive audience to the beat of
unrecognisable pop tunes. Have you ever wondered about the influence of background,
or even foreground music on our everyday lives? Marketing lecturer Steve Oakes, from
the University of Central Lancashire iii doing just that and focusing in particular on the
way that music can make us behave in the service environment.
Steve, a jazz guitarist, is lucky enough to be able to combine his hobby with his work :in
the University's Department of International Business and Accounting. His research
interests focus upon the way in which background music can affect customer responses
within advertising and service environment contexts. Although influenced by factors
such as customer age and gender, research has shown that variations in tempo and style
of background music can influence satisfaction levels and purchase behaviour of
consumers in different contexts (e.g. supermarket shoppers and restaurant diners).
Whilst younger punters are attracted to the clubland environment of the town centre
record shop, older customers may prefer a setting with quiet background music, allowing
them to browse at their leisure. Music itself can even influence customers' perception of
waiting time.
"Music is a powerful tool," says Steve Oakes. "The actual tempo of background music
can be used to make people think that they have queued for a shorter length of time, and
no music at all can cause customers to believe that they have waited longer." Steve is
currently using students at the University in his latest experiment, having tested them for
their reactions to background music varying in tempo as they waited to enrol for their
new courses.
21 March 2002
Note: For further information, please contact Steve Oakes, in the Department of
International Business and Accounting on tel: 01772 894705, or Pamela Culley in the
Media Office on 01772 892486.

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