Are you looking to buy a background music system for your business? The task can be a breeze with some basic information on the varying systems that support music for business.
The most important thing to know are the positives and negatives of each of the four different types of background music systems, which include (1) PC-based systems, (2) internet streaming systems, (3) satellite streaming systems, and (4) store-and-forward systems. The one that is right for your business depends on what you need out of your music for business.
Let’s take a moment to cut through the confusion with a quick primer on each type of background music platform. We’ll examine the pros and cons of each in-store music system to help you make the right decision for your business music. Here we go!
(1) PC-Based Systems
PC systems are the most basic type of commercial audio system, and are also the least popular. These background music for business systems use a computer to stream music from the internet by way of a program called a PC Player. Users must download the PC player and then connect the computer to your office background music system.
(+) No hardware cost (if you have a PC)
(+) Fast and easy to implement. Takes only a few minutes to get started.
(-) Be careful, not all services are licensed. Comcast, Spotify, iTunes, and regular Pandora are not legal to play in your business.
(-) PC music will occupy part of your computer processor all day. If your computer hiccups, so will your music.
(-) Known as the LEAST reliable of all commercial music platforms
(-) We find that most businesses do not have a computer to dedicate to this option
(2) Internet Streaming Systems
Streaming music over the internet is quickly becoming the most popular way for businesses to deliver licensed music to their guests. Streaming services are relatively inexpensive, easy to set up, and have lots of options.
These business music solutions use a dedicated piece of hardware called an Internet Streaming Player. The Streaming Player connects to a commercial music service over the internet using a high-bandwidth connection like cable or DSL. The music streams through the Streaming Player to your sound system. Most Streaming Players offer a variety of channels that can be changed on the player itself, or through a web-based interface. The web interfaces are often quite robust allowing users to select, schedule, and manage their music from their PC or mobile device.
(+) Low cost equipment
(+) Easy to install
(+) Lots of content and music variety
(+) Centralized management through website interface. Great for managers with multiple locations to manage.
(-) Requires high-bandwidth internet connection
(-) WiFi connection may not always be reliable. It’s best to use a wired connection.
(-) As with any internet streaming service, the music stream is subject to reliability of internet connection
(3) Satellite Streaming Systems (think SiriusXM)
Satellite-based streaming systems deliver licensed music through a satellite receiver. The receiver is connected to a special-purpose antenna mounted to the exterior of the building. Once the antenna is installed and properly adjusted, the satellite content streams directly to the satellite receiver.
(+) No Internet connection required. The receiver communicates directly with the satellite.
(+) Excellent programming and great variety. If you like SiriusXM in your car, you will probably like the service in your business.
(+) The service is quite reliable and the antenna works very well, even in bad weather.
(-) There is an equipment cost, although it is moderate.
(-) The antenna needs to be mounted outside to get reliable service. A technician might be required for some installations.
(4) Store and Forward Music Systems
Store and Forward in-store music systems play music from a hard drive located inside a physical music player (most are shaped like a DVD player). They are called “store and forward” systems because they store music locally on a hard drive and then forward the music to the audio system.
These systems are generally loaded with four or five selected playlists (or “channels”) prior to being shipped to your location. The playlists are updated on a monthly basis via a satellite connection, the internet, or via a physical compact disc. Store and Forward systems are usually the most expensive hardware platforms due to the need for large hard drives to store the music for playback.
(+) Most flexible from a music perspective. In most cases you can select from hundreds of playlists.
(+) Song-by-song custom playlists are available for high-end applications
(+) The hardware is designed to integrate overhead messaging or play music/messaging through your phone system
(+) Very easy to install. Most systems are plug and play.
(-) High equipment cost
(-) Highest monthly service cost
Choosing a Service
Choosing a background music service can be overwhelming, in part because there are so many options. Dynamic Media represents all of the major business music streaming services and has done so for years. Our team of business music solutions experts will explain the options and help you get the service that’s best for your business. Call our team to get started at 1-800-684-7050 or CLICK HERE to request a contact from a business music system expert.
About the Author
Dr. Ryan Santangelo is Co-Founder and President of Dynamic Media, the nation’s leading provider of background radio services, music on hold, and message on hold for business. With over 10 years of leadership in the business music space, Dynamic Media serves over 20,000 business clients across the United States and in 12 countries around the world. With award-winning service and a customer-drive culture, Dynamic Media is one of the fastest growing full-service business music providers in the country.