Background Music Is Important

 In today’s music industry there are many different ways to get your music out in to new listener’s ears, but one avenue that many people forget about is background music. To be honest as an artist myself I had never thought about background music as anything but elevator music until I began working at Prescriptive Music. After working in the background music scene for about a year I have learned that is not even the tip of the iceberg.

There are many companies that work in background music, but usually the first that people can name is Muzak. They were the pioneers of making instrumental tracks to help you relax in an elevator on your way to your fancy hotel room. Thus this instilled the bad rap that background music gets. Most people don’t know that all the music you hear out at a restaurant, hotel, bar, casino, anywhere you are pulling out your wallet or purse is programmed by background music companies. Wait hold on, I thought that was just the radio? Think again, background music companies are the people working with your PRO’s (Performance Rights Organizations) to fight for your rights to get paid for your music. There are a lot of places out there that just hook up an iPod or play Pandora for music, which to the artists that are being played is like them walking straight past the door guy at your show, coming directly up to your merch table and grabbing a CD and walking out without paying you anything. Companies use music to attract people to their locations and keep the people happy when they are there. You deserve some credit for helping them out!

I don’t want to sell out and have my music played at brand name restaurant! That’s  the puzzling response that some people say to me when I reach out to them to use their music in our client’s locations. If you are an independent artist not backed by a label, or even an independent label, why wouldn’t you want your music to be played to as many new ears as possible. At Prescriptive Music we work a bit different than the other background music companies, because we use completely custom lists in our locations. We work to make sure we are targeting the same demographic of listener as the client is targeting customers, meaning we are most likely going to be putting your music into the same ears that you are trying to get in. If people love your music, they ask what is playing translating in to new fans. If they don’t ask about it don’t worry because studies show that you don’t recognize a new song until you have heard it at least 3 times, and if you are in a location you are in a rotation giving people plenty of time to learn to love your music.

Sounds good to me, but how do I get my music into background music companies? Most companies, like Prescriptive Music, will have submission policies on their website. I am the person that listens to all the music submissions that we get at Prescriptive Music so feel free to send me stuff at and I will contact you about getting in the system. Every company is different with submissions, but I know that every company needs your music as well.

  • Brandon Rockhold

    reading this post makes me a bit curious… these services aren’t just targeting instrumental tracks for background music, correct? also, do you typically work with a wide range of styles, up to and including really heavy stuff like death metal? obviously your average hotel or restaurant isn’t going to play death metal for their customers, but it seems like some bars, venues, and indie music stores may be into it (if they were to actually use such a service). this definitely isn’t anything i’ve ever given any thoughts about before.

  • BetweenTheLinerNotes

    Sirius XM has a service like this as well. They provide something like 12 streaming channels with no announcer and no commercials. Each channel is a different genre allowing the business owner to choose the channel based on the vibe s/he wants the business to have. Subscribing to a service like this is much cheaper than paying BMI or ASCAP for the performance rights.

    - Between the Liner Notes podcast