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Music & Entertainment

Not Just Background Music

April 17, 2009 By: Michael Harrelson Night Club and Bar Magazine

Flow Maintenance
At the Loose Moose Tap & Grill in Toronto, assistant general manager Sean Russo says music programming plays a huge part in branding and legitimizing his establishment in the eyes of the public.  

“We are a rock ‘n’ roll party bar, so music is a very important aspect of our operation,” he says. “If there is no continuity or flow to the music that you are playing, you run into an identity crisis because you really are not what you are claiming to be.”

In his own experience, it is next to impossible for independent operators to create music playlists that work for the average patron.

“You may know good songs, but most operators don’t comprehend the continuity and the flow of music like a DJ does.”
Video DJ Roonie Griffeth, a veteran club music director and a partner in Martini’s lounge in Birmingham, Ala., says that just as many people believe they can sing, nightclub owners and music directors often have a distorted sense of their own music programming expertise.

“There are a lot of club owners who do not know the technical flow of the musical format,” says Griffeth, now a regularly featured DJ at the Mirage Casino’s Jet nightclub in Las Vegas. “They think they do. They know what they want, but it is not just about business and numbers. Music is art, and art is very subjective.”

Russo likes the convenience of sitting down with music programmers from Hitmen once a month and gauging the mood of the musical programming selection for the coming month. And even better, he says, once the playlists have been completed, is the way the music is delivered to the bar and the ears of patrons.

“At 5 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, they can program love music to come on,” Russo says. “They actually do the programming from their studio. They upload it to us on the Internet, and they can program it to start automatically any time of day. It is one less thing you have to worry about as a restaurant or bar.”

For his part, Griffeth appreciates the fact that music programming companies do all of the considerable legwork for him in an ever-changing club music environment. He’s engaged Orlando, Fla.-based Promo Only, a provider of music on CD and music video on DVD designed to meet the specific needs of various entertainment venues.

“The thing is, music changes every day, and Promo Only is a one-stop shop,” he says. “You are being updated constantly. I know that I am going to get the latest stuff, and I know that I am not going to have to spend another 10 hours a week looking for it.”

At the end of the day, Griffeth, a self-described “big believer” in music outsourcing, says he’s buying consistency.

“Your customers know what to expect, and they come back to get it.” NCB

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