Choosing the Right Music Service to Reflect Your Bar’s Identity

    Man playing guitar close up

    Developing a strong brand identity for your bar is key to standing out in the crowded drink industry. This includes everything from your logo, signature colors, and interior design to your overall ‘personality.’

    Music is one of the most important factors in creating your desired environment. It can raise guest satisfaction, and certain genres have even been shown to increase sales.

    Right Streaming Service

    With more consumers shifting from ownership of CDs and vinyl records to subscription-based access to music, the best streaming service meets a customer’s needs. Some of the most popular music service for bars boast large libraries and offer a wide range of music genres, while others offer unique features that set them apart from their competition.

    The biggest difference between streaming services is audio quality, which varies by service and device. 

    Other key factors when choosing a streaming service include whether it’s compatible with your favorite devices and if it supports Dolby Atmos content and other extra features like digital assistants, lyrics and playlist sharing. Additionally, it would help if you took the time to fully test each available app and interface before making a final decision.


    The music you play in your bar should reflect the vibe you want your place to have and the guests it attracts. A good playlist can be beneficial for your business. A musical misstep can damper an otherwise great night and cause your customers to laugh less or drink less. The right genres, however, can heighten your guests’ experience and encourage them to stick around and drink even longer.

    A genre is a group of songs or other musical works with similar characteristics, such as key, tone, rhythm, and tempo. These genres are useful for organizing music and categorizing it for reference. Genres are also often grouped into subgenres, smaller categories within a genre that may have distinct characteristics.

    Hip-hop or rap is a popular genre that has evolved from jazz, rock, and R&B into its style. It focuses on rhythm and rhyme and has powerful lyrical content that discusses societal issues, personal experiences, or storytelling. The genre has also spawned its subgenres, such as gangsta rap, trap, and conscious rap.

    Grunge is a popular genre combining punk and heavy metal elements with a dark, moody feel. It has become one of the most recognizable alternative music styles in modern times.

    Brand Voice

    Developing a strong brand voice is important to your bar’s identity because it helps distinguish you from the competition and creates a memorable experience for patrons. It also helps your brand stay consistent and on-brand — in fact, a lack of consistency is one of the top reasons consumers unfollow brands on social media. Establishing a clear, consistent brand book with rules for using brand elements can help ensure that everyone on your team is on the same page regarding reinforcing your bar’s identity.


    Many tools are available for bar management, but not all are necessary. Consider your business needs and budget when deciding which devices are right for you and your team.

    The right brand voice is essential to building an identity that sticks with customers. Developing that voice takes time, so be patient and stick to your plan. Customers might notice and unfollow your social media accounts or stop coming to your bar if you don’t.

    Whether running a full-service restaurant or a taproom, having a filing cabinet and safe can help keep your records organized while saving you space for more important items. Having a break room can also make it easier to retain employees, especially for bars open until the early hours. You might not need a full breakroom, but having the option can be a great perk for staff. Also, consider adding WiFi to your establishment — this can be a great marketing tool and attract customers.


    Music is important to your brand’s voice but should be carefully controlled. A consistent approach helps establish a unique bar identity that separates your establishment from the competition and gives new patrons a reason to return. But it’s also important to have enough variety in your playlists to keep the vibe from feeling stale over time. Ideally, the music should have a clear theme that matches your bar’s image but not be so specific as to make it feel stuffy. For example, if your bar is a Tiki bar, you should have a mix of surf rock, Hawaiian folk, and 50s rockabilly to avoid sounding too repetitive.

    If you have many customers, consider hiring an expert to curate and manage your music playlists. This can save time and allow employees to focus on more customer-facing activities. A professional service can also help you comply with music licensing regulations and avoid expensive fines from music performance rights organizations (PROs).

    Most streaming services have business accounts for restaurants and include the performing rights fees for ASCAP, BMI and SESAC in the monthly service cost. This is the simplest way to ensure your music is legal and protects you from costly fines. This is also an effective way to maintain a consistent, quality experience for your customers without the hassle of managing your music.

    Personalized Playlists

    Playlists are one of the best ways to create a branded music experience at any business, whether a restaurant, bar, event, festival, wedding, or shop. A good playlist can bring people together, boost sales, and connect the audience with the brand. But while many automated tools can help create a good playlist for a personal listening environment, getting the right mix in a room full of people takes a lot of work.

    Thankfully, several different services can help businesses with this challenge. One option is to pay for a streaming service that allows you to connect your existing audio system and manage the music for your venue. Another option is to work with a company that specializes in music solutions and can tailor a personalized playlist for your unique restaurant concept.

    Spotify recently announced that it would be adding personalized features to some of its curated editorial playlists. The service’s playlists are based on each user’s taste. Still, now they will be part algorithmic and personalized as well. Personalized playlists have shown that people listen longer and are more likely to seek out songs they find on the playlist than traditional curated ones.