New Study Proves Ed Sheeran Makes People Buy More Dessert

"I'll have a slice of cake with that "Shape of You."

By Robyn Collins

A Swedish-based study has concluded that hearing certain songs makes customers buy more food. Swedish Retail Institute and Spotify-backed Soundtrack Your Brand conducted a massive study analyzing almost 2 million orders in a fast food restaurant.

Related: Ed Sheeran Performs ‘Hearts Don’t Break Around Here’ by Candlelight

The research examined the difference in sales when certain music was playing. When popular songs were playing, burger sales went up by 8.6%, fries at 8.8% and dessert sales were raised by 15.6%, reports The Guardian.

Professor Charles Spence, an experimental psychologist at the University of Oxford explained, “If you’re in a store prevaricating between French and German wine and you hear French music, the French wine is going to have a slight advantage. Some studies have shown that if you play classical music, people will spend more money, others that uptempo music makes you move faster through a store or eat or drink more quickly in a restaurant or bar.”

“Music triggers associations in our brain,” says Philip Graves, a consumer behavior expert. “The way in which we process our environment is primarily unconscious. What gets passed through to us is a feeling, and that feeling is then misattributed to the thing we are looking at.” The result? “We like that thing more.”

Spearheading the brand building through music strategy, Soundtrack Your Brand’s CEO Ola Sars said, “We’ve spent four years developing an advanced method called Soundscan, used in this research and in all our curation efforts, Until now, streaming hasn’t crossed over into background music, which has become a fairly broken market.”

“Anyone can put together a playlist that sounds good,” says Magnus Rydén, the Soundtrack Your Brand’s head of music. “But when you’re curating for a business, it’s important to really understand them. It’s about expressing that brand through music.”

So how does it work? “Once we’ve got the parameters right, it comes down to our daily sourcing of new music. “If a brand is positioning itself as, say, modern and technological, those are the parameters we use,” adds Sars. “Then Magnus’s team rolls through hundreds of thousands of tracks that qualify and handpicks them. We scale through data and then add humans for the last bit of fine tuning and complexity.”

“The Soundscan model doesn’t really give us the perfect burger-and-shake tune,” Rydén says. However, he sent a follow-up email detailing the “welcoming, modern, and expressive” parameters common to restaurants “targeting a millennial audience.” Apparently, Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” makes people want more burgers, fries and especially dessert.

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