Art has long held a place in capturing civil unrest and the public mindset. It is often said that in order for real change to take effect, the movements must be present within artistic communities and cultural mediums. With the civil unrest and protests that have gripped the nation following George Floyd’s death, this has been profoundly true.
The Black Lives Matter movement has gained momentum like never before, and that momentum has been fueled by responses from artists. This has included murals of George Floyd, and Breanna Taylor. Their portraits, along with other victims, have been shared thousands of times on social media. Their images and visual art inspired by the movement has heightened social awareness and social empathy to the movement.
But it isn’t just within the visual arts community where a cultural response can be found. Musicians are responding and reacting to the civil unrest throughout their craft, too. Cue Abel Meri who considers himself to be a conscious rapper. Born in Ethiopia, and shaped by the DMV (the DC, Maryland, and Virginia) area, Abel Meri is a rapper who gains inspiration from politics, social inequities, and the voices and concerns of marginalized groups.
Abel believes that artists have a unique platform and opportunity to responsibly contribute to civil unrest and social movements. He says that his objective as an artist is to provoke thought, edify, entertain and hopefully inspire my audience.” This mindset is seen within his latest EP #BLM.” The song “Black Lives Matter” drew direct inspiration from George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement. It provides his unique perspective to the events, presented in a fresh way. He crafts his songs that are clearly introspective, and are his personal reflections to the current social climate and events.
The power of “#BLM” lies within Abel’s artistic vision of focusing on the lyrics. This vision isn’t within the style of contemporary rap, or Trap era rap, however. Trap era rap emphasizes the rhythm of the music, and focuses on auto-tune before and above anything else. For Trap era rap, melodies are king. But there are a group of rap artists that do not follow this trend. The artists Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole focus their art on the lyrics, which oftentimes acts as a voice for marginalized groups.
Abel Meri is within the same ilk. He carefully crafts his lyrics, which are commonly responses to ongoing social events. Perhaps being raised in the DMV area has had something to do with Abel’s inclination to put out music that is concerned with forgotten demographics. Abel’s “#BLM” isn’t his only work that is inspired by his social environment. Just this year, Abel has released the EPs “TNSZ – The No Skip Zone,” “Smooth” and several singles including “Salute,” and the aptly named “COVID.” As with any responsible and conscious artist, Abel understands his unique platform and ability to not only inform, but to inspire and spark activism. This is especially true within the rap and hip-hop genres. They are the most powerful and popular genres of music, especially amongst younger listeners. As a conscious rapper, Abel obviously acknowledges this through his powerful lyrics.
Christmas Music for Retailers: The 2022 Guide to Boost Holiday Shopper Sales
Every year as we approach the holiday season, retail stores of all shapes and sizes start to fill up with scores of customers looking to score the best holiday shopping deals possible. You want to offer your customers a great experience that will keep them coming back time and time again. To do this, you’ll need to give your retail store personality and offer an experience that makes it someplace worth going to, and even better, telling your friends about too.
Music can be the key to adding this personality, but you need to make sure that the songs and playlists you choose are in line with the type of brand you have established first. When you can make your holiday music fit within your brand experience, it’s easy for customers to feel like they belong there, which will help them enjoy their Christmas shopping even more so.
But did you know you need to license the background music you play at your retail location(s)? You’re not alone if you’ve never heard of royalty-free music. Most people know what many things are but aren’t that familiar with the terms associated with them. If you need to learn what royalty-free means, here’s a quick definition. To license music for your business means that you can directly use it for your own benefits without having to pay any form of royalties to the owner(s). It’s a bit more complicated than that, which is why it pays to have some of the basics under your belt if you’re thinking about going this route.
Timing Is Everything – Don’t Start Playing Christmas Music Too Soon
The holidays are the most important time of year for retailers, and music is one of the most important elements that can help make or break your season. But if you don’t start playing your Christmas music too early, you can avoid losing customers who might be annoyed by too much Christmas music being played in October and November. You want to start playing your holiday songs closer to or right after Thanksgiving has passed along with Black Friday too. You want to start playing your holiday background music when people start thinking about what they want for Christmas, but not before they’ve finalized all the details.
Use a Music Streaming Platform That Is Legal for Businesses
The last thing you want is for an attorney to come into your store because they heard Christmas music being played from your store and then find out that it was being played illegally without proper business music licensing. That could prove to be pretty for business, especially if you get slapped with a cease & desist order, or worse, a lawsuit! Make sure that whatever music streaming platform you use has permission from artists and labels to let businesses play their music legally (e.g., Spotify).
Work Christmas Music into Your Streaming Music Without Letting the Christmas Music Overtake Everything
Christmas music for retailers is typically playing everywhere during the holiday season. You are guaranteed to hear it playing in the background at mom & pop retail shops, department stores, shopping malls, restaurants, schools, corporate offices, and more. This makes it difficult to stand out from the crowd with your Christmas music playlist choices. You don’t have to go overboard with Christmas tunes either — just keeping them in the background is enough to get shoppers in the holiday spirit.
Stay On-Brand by Playing Your Typical Genres
The best way to keep customers returning throughout December is by staying true to your brand identity and using genre preferences as an indicator of that identity. For example, if your store predominantly sells children’s toys and clothes, then playing classical music might not be appropriate because it doesn’t reflect who you are or what your brand stands for.
Try Alternatives to Overplayed Classics
Many people associate certain Christmas tunes with their childhoods or other special moments. But all too often, these same songs become so ubiquitous that they lose their charm. Try alternatives if you’re sick of hearing “White Christmas” every time you walk into a store or restaurant.
How Can You Legally Stream Spotify Playlists?
The popularity of streaming services has made it easier than ever for retailers to play quality music without breaking copyright laws. Services like Spotify allow you to create playlists based on artists and genres licensed for commercial use — meaning, with proper commercial licensing, they can be played in stores without getting sued by record labels or publishers.
Why Do You Need to License Music?
To start off, here are just a few reasons why licensing music matters. You’re responsible for protecting your brand’s image, reputation, and integrity — ensuring everything you do is within the law.
You want customers to have a positive experience when they enter your store or visit your website. Your brand’s image plays into this as well. If people associate your business with certain songs or artists and then listen to them while shopping elsewhere, you could lose business and customers because they’re already “in the mood” for something else when they walk into your store!
Music is a powerful way to engage customers, create an emotional connection, and boost holiday sales. It’s also the most cost-effective way to differentiate your brand from competitors. That’s why many retailers are already using music in their stores. And there are many ways to use Christmas music for retail that can help you grow sales at your store this holiday season.
Soundtrack Your Brand Can Legally License Music for Your Retail Business
Holiday music has been a staple of retail stores for decades. From a simple radio to the latest digital jukebox, customers can expect to hear holiday tunes in your store as soon as Thanksgiving hits.
Holiday music is a tried-and-true way to create an inviting and festive atmosphere that can bring customers into your store. But how do you choose the right music for your store? And how can you make sure it’s legally licensed?
Soundtrack Your Brand is a leader in this space and can definitely help answer those questions. From the legality of playing Christmas music at your store, to choosing the right sound system for your business, they have everything you need to know about playing Christmas music in your retail business.
If you want to help boost sales, find the right holiday music. When you start playing Christmas music too early, though, it might cause burnout. You need to find the right balance and keep it on-brand. And, if you’re shopping for a music streaming service, ensure you’re following the license rules, so you don’t get sued in 2022 or 2023 for that matter.
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