NEW YORK — The music is loud, videos are flashing on TV screens and customers are subtly dancing while they wait in line to pay for their piles of merchandise.
Such is the scene every day at H&M. Behind the scenes, clothes come into the store daily by the truckload and a carefully chosen batch of music is picked for play. While being ahead of the latest fashion trends is what the store does best, it’s also known for being ahead of the trends in music, thanks to DMX Music.
“A lot of today’s fashion retailers want to use high-energy, cutting-edge music to play in their stores,” said Christy Noel, vice president of marketing at DMX Music. “To ensure they receive this, our music and creative directors work very closely with each individual client so we can understand their objectives. They spend a lot of time to get a feel for the business.”
The company, based in Los Angeles, has been in the music business for more than 30 years. It supplies the music of choice, as well as equipment like speakers and screens, to retailers, restaurants, medical offices and other businesses. It offers digital audio service, programming and delivery of a variety of continuous digital music to homes and more than 180,000 businesses around the world.
Whether it’s Kenny G or 50 Cent, DMX owns more than two million songs and 25,000 music videos. Today, the company runs offices worldwide with a major presence in the U.S., Europe and Australia. It employs experts in the world of music to track trends through relationships with record labels and find the best music according to age group and gender.
“Like everything else in the store, we like the music to be as current and upbeat as it can be,” said Steve Lubomski, director of advertising and marketing at H&M. “We want the music to put the customers in a good mood and keep them in the store as long as we can. Also, with the video screens behind the registers, it keeps them entertained for one of the most unpleasant parts of the shopping experience.”
Since H&M wants the most cutting-edge music it can get, DMX often provides the chain with music that is high on the charts in the U.S., as well as tunes already big in Europe but not yet in record stores in the U.S. Some businesses still choose to play music on their own, without the help from services like DMX, but Noel said besides the low price, there are countless benefits to using a service.“With this service, the stores can better control what the employees are putting on,” she said. “Who knows what they play when a manager isn’t there?”
From H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle to Macy’s and Brooks Brothers, it’s not only in-store music that DMX provides for these businesses. Noel said the company also provides services to stores that would like to sell promotional CDs of the music played in the store, plus it offers a message service to provide educational messages to employees.
“The screens can provide regular training messages like how to fold something properly,” Noel said.
While costs of these services varies from customer to customer, Noel said a single store on average will pay $75 per month, which includes lease of equipment.
“It depends on how much customization the client wants,” she said. “But the average monthly cost is sometimes less than buying four new CDs each month.”
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