Music affects what and how much you drink

In past posts we have talked about how music can be used to influence the speed you do things at (click here for more on this) so it should be no surprise that music can be used to affect how much you drink, but did you know it also can affect what you drink?

If you think about this it also should come as no surprise. Bars and nightclubs often play fast music to increase alcohol based profit. Usually music is pumped up to ear splitting level making conversation impossible, and lights are kept dim because we feel uncomfortable talking to someone we can’t see clearly. Bars want you to drink, not talk so they try their hardest to make sure your interactions remain at the basic head nodding.

More upscale restaurants, prefer slow, relaxing music which, believe it or not can also make you drink more.

The tempo of music is linked to your bodys arousal level, or the ‘speed’ at which your nervous system operates. Fast music heightens arousal so patrons will do everything more quickly, including eating and drinking. On the other hand, slower music means you will eat and drink at a more leisurely pace, you might stay to chat longer and the more time that passes the more likely you are to buy a drink every time the waiter comes around to ask.

For a restaurant that charges upward of $70 a bottle of wine it quickly makes up for any lost traffic as you and your friends consume bottle after bottle as the night wears on.

Some restaurants even go as far as purchasing specially selected songs designed by ‘sound branding’ companies to achieve the tempo or atmosphere the restaurant is trying to achieve.

For more information about how personalised music works and how often it is used check out this great article from the New Yorker.

So before you hit the bars and restaurants this New Year’s eve decide what kind of night you want to have beforehand and pick where you spend your time based on the music they are playing. Because once your inside you are in the venues control.