How Music Can Affect The Ways You Spend Money

How you spend your money is up to you, from top outlets for fashion, to music platforms, to casinos. But what if I told you that music affected your patterns of spending as you listen? Although the science is somewhat incomplete, some of the findings are extremely revealing. 

So, does listening to Shirley Bassey’s ‘Hey Big Spender’ inspire a trip to the mall? Or are things more subtle than that?

As a reader of this blog, you will be no stranger to the powerful effects of music or the fact that it is arguably the most emotive art form. It can lift you up or bring you down with a melody or even transport you back to the past with a simple chord.

(Alan Harvey is an expert in this field of study, check him out!)  

However, it turns out that music does not just affect your mood but also your behaviour and habits as well. That is to say, if music were to make you do something rather than just feel something. If you are thinking that dancing is an obvious example of this, then you would be right. The action of dancing is, however, clearly influenced by the music. The topic today is how music affects our habits subliminally. 

Music affects many parts of the brain, almost all in fact. Most significantly perhaps is that our reward centre can be triggered. So, if you are listening to your favourite song whilst shopping online, then you could be associating the musical reward with the purchasing reward, therefore magnifying the ‘new shoes’ feeling and, indeed, the spending. 

What researchers have discovered however, is that this effect can be produced when the style of music compliments the product. For example, when classical music was played in a wine shop, more expensive bottles were bought. The product equivalent for pop is a little less clear though – soda pop? The Britney Spears fans and historians amongst you will appreciate that one.

Genre-relevance is all well and good, but the most significant findings by far were in regard to tempo – the speed of the music. It has long been observed that the heartbeat tries, often successfully, to align with tempo. This is why fast-paced music in an action scene of a movie can really get our hearts racing, not just the action. It is also why ravers, with their high tempo tunes, have the energy to stay up all night dancing… yes, I suppose that must be it.

Anyway, in the setting of a physical store people walk around the aisles way faster when music with a quick tempo is played. This notably reduces spending because people are in and out so fast. Slower music means slower movement which means more time and time, in case you were unaware, is money. 

Conversely, high tempo cuts both ways. When researchers measured spending in a bar that played fast music, they found spending dramatically increased. However, when the same study covered eating in a restaurant, the tempo had no effect at all. This could be down to a number of influences such as the fact that consuming food does not alter our state of consciousness to the same extent that alcohol does.

Enough about just spending, how about making money as well? For example, can music affect your focus when taking calculated risks? Say you have joined the recent online casino trend and are on a winning streak; this could be influenced by the music in your earbuds. If those buds are blasting the casino’s choice of music however, then you could be at risk of being negatively influenced by it.

In light of the aforementioned research, listening to fast paced music could make the experience more thrilling but also impulsive and potentially detrimental. Although slower music would keep your head clear for calculating risks, it could also mean spending too much time logged in. This could be a problem if you are chasing a loss for example.

In the context of online gambling, it would make sense to listen to your own playlist, mute the site’s choice of theme songs and visit the best online casinos for real money. That way you can mix the tempo and know you are not going to be influenced too much one way or the other, with the added bonus of playing music that you know you like, and having peace of mind that you’re using a reputable website. And let’s face it, we all enjoy putting together an activity-related playlist almost as much as listening to it.

About the author

There’s a lot of music out there - good music. At Essentially Pop our remit is that we cover music that deserves to be heard, with a particular focus on independent artists. That doesn't mean we won't cover your old favourites - rather we hope to give you some new favourites as well.

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