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Why Restaurants Play Really Old Music

 

Good food & good music.  If you're 55!  Courtesy, Bill Colley.
Good food & good music. If you’re 55! Courtesy, Bill Colley.

I celebrated my tenth birthday in early October, 1972.  I don’t recall if we went out for dinner." It would be the equivalent of hearing Rudy Vallee hits in a restaurant in 1972! What’s going on here?"

My family viewed dining out as a luxury.  When we infrequently did go out to eat it was fast food and rarely was it ever fine dining and I don’t ever recall music being played at restaurants.  Most restaurants now pipe-in music for customers.  At an Olive Garden several years ago it was all Sinatra, Dean Martin and Jerry Vale.  My little girl remarked it’s what she heard at “Grandpa’s house”.

Mostly the music I hear now is from the 1970s.  Pop music generally played between 1972 and 1978 from what I can determine.  It’s most prevalent at chain restaurants and I’ll wager the companies have tested what music is best for encouraging business.  It would be the equivalent of hearing Rudy Vallee hits in a restaurant in 1972!  What’s going on here?

A woman at work and a friend at Facebook point out 40-year-old music is the least offensive music for the greatest number of customers.  Heavy metal from the 1980s would be a turn-off for some diners.  Another Facebook friend explains it’s also a good business move to address the clients who’ve got the most money to spend.  It’s why the bands I hear at the casino across the state line in Nevada all have origins in the late 1960s and 1970s.  The ugly reality is the stagnation of the country’s economy over the last several decades.  While advertisers claim to be chasing the younger demographic the Millennials and Generation X don’t have the high paying jobs of the past.  I’ll acknowledge it’s not the case in Silicon Valley and some large cities on the East Coast but across flyover country the money is in the hands of industrial retirees, public servants and some farmers who survived the agricultural depression of the 1980s.  Apparently these people all have an infinity for Stevie Nicks, Gilbert and Sullivan and possibly even Creedence.

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