Thursday, July 11, 2013

Why it sounds the way it does in here

It's always a pretty solid compliment when we hear from the people in our store that they really like the music we're playing at any given time. It happens more often than you think! And we play a broad, brrrrrrrooooooaaaaadddd mixture of music. Most of the time we're running on internet radio, but we've put a fair amount of work into tailoring the stations so that they're satisfactory. Because listen, as much as we want you to enjoy what's shufflin' into your earholes...we're the ones who are here for eight hours (frequently more, if you're a bosspants like some of us). We really, really want you to like the music you're hearing. We really do! But we also sorta have to not go crazy while we're here.

I've talked to staff in other businesses about the music they're listening's my worst nightmare. Your favorite 24-hour deli? The one with all the coffee and sandwiches any time of day? You know the one I'm talking about. They get one cd that they have to listen to on repeat...for months. MONTHS. And they're open 24 hours! Can you imagine a rainy 3:00 AM shift? The store's totally empty, you've been bored for hours, there's nothing to do...and you have to listen to Tears of a Clown. Again. For the fifth time tonight. Whether you like it or not, because you have absolutely no control at all over the music.

Honestly, it's enough to make me start feeling itchy and feral just thinking about it. Why do businesses DO that?! For one thing, you're guaranteeing that your establishment will have essentially no individual character. Customers are walking in and thinking "Oh good. Collective Soul. Because I DEFINITELY haven't wanted this song to die in a fire since the first time I heard it." For another...think of your crew! They have to be there all day listening to that dreck! It's always been incredibly important to me that the people working have some agency when it comes to what they have to listen to. Probably comes years of being a cook in mostly closed kitchens.

I guess I should have pointed out at the start that I' Picky? About the music I'm surrounded by? Perhaps even a bit vocal if something, But that's kind of a running theme among the crew here. We're proudly picky! We don't like crap music! (I say that...and yet I know that when I'm not here they're listening to Bieber.) But at least you know there are actual humans behind what you're listening to when you're with us and not some rando programmer who lives thousands of miles away and has no idea what the weather is like in Philadelphia that afternoon and maybe this selection isn't REALLY what anyone here wants to be listening to?

 Yeah, it can be a little schizophrenic. There have definitely been instances when we've gone from this to this to this in rapid succession. But that's kind of great, I think. It's definitely lively, if nothing else. And it's kind of like the weather this time of year: if you don't like what's playing...just wait ten minutes. It'll probably change! So come in and ask me to put on my hiphop playlist. It's pretty legit.

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