Eat, sing and be merry: music is the food of fun

December 9, 2015

As Canada gets set to make the most of the holiday season, eating, drinking and merry music are on everyone's list, and restaurants, retailers and even grocery stores should turn up the dial to keep customers happy and spending more.

A new research study1 by SOCAN and Leger, The Research Intelligence Group, shows that music has a substantially positive impact on dining and shopping, with 78 percent of Canadians revealing that hearing music in a restaurant makes them enjoy their food and drink more and almost three-quarters saying it makes them want to stay longer.

Among other findings, 84 percent of bar, restaurant and retail owners surveyed credit music for helping to create a more positive experience, while two-thirds of the Canadian public agreed that music impacts their decision to return to or recommend a restaurant. In fact, more than two-thirds of business owners said that live music attracts more customers, and more than half agreed that live music gives them an edge over their competition.

"Music is the food of fun, so play on!" said Leslie Craig, SOCAN's Director of Licensing. "The results from our Food & Music Survey support the fact that Canadian businesses and their customers agree that music is integral to enjoying food and drink, and to staying in a restaurant, bar or retail store longer."


Click on the infographic to see a larger version.

More highlights of the SOCAN Food & Music Study:

  • Canadians enjoy their food and beverages more with music – Seventy percent of Canadian diners say that hearing music makes them more likely to stay longer, and half say that live music in a restaurant would make them want to eat and drink more.
  • Silence isn't golden, it's awkward – More than a quarter (28 percent) of Canadians say they would have a negative reaction to being in a restaurant without music and, of those, 43 percent say they'd be unlikely to return and 20 percent say they'd feel the need to leave.
  • Live music is in good taste – Seventy-five per cent of Canadians say they enjoy food and drink more when they hear live music they like.
  • Licensed To Play – Thirty-four percent of Canadians said that if they knew a restaurant was paying its legal and fair license for music, it would influence their decision to go there.

The same can be said for grocery and retail stores. More than half of Canadians said they are likely to enjoy their shopping experience more when they hear music in a retail store. About one-third even admit to dancing or singing in grocery store aisles, and 25 percent said would be likely to inquire about music being played.

Louis McNeil, owner of District Saint-Joseph restaurant in Québec City, understands the power of attraction and retention that music brings. Music even influences his restaurant’s food and beverage offerings: "Our goal is to make people discover new music at the same time as they discover our food and, to achieve this, we program two to three live music performances per week, and our restaurant is also a venue for record launches and other such industry events. We live it daily.  Because of music, our patrons stay longer and our sales increase. Music is definitely a big part of our customers' experience.”

While music helps to build the experience for consumers, it also rewards the more than 125,000 businesses using licensed music to make their business better and compensate music creators fairly for their work. Businesses that are Licensed To Play with SOCAN know the value that music always adds, especially during the holidays.

For a thorough summary of the study, please see the Music is the Food of Business report.


1 Survey of 1,500 Canadians (probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20) and 270 SOCAN licensed businesses (probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 5.8%, 19 times out of 20) who were randomly selected.