Szocs Examines the Effects of Ambient Music and Background Noise on Food Sales

Courtney Szocs at grocery store

Courtney Szocs at supermarket

December 24, 2019

Retail atmospherics is becoming an increasingly important strategic tool for stores and restaurants. Ambient music and background noise are especially important atmospheric elements given their ubiquity in retail settings. However, there is high variation in the volume of ambient music and background noise, with some stores/restaurants having very loud ambience and others having very quiet ambience.

This phenomenon was examined in a paper accepted by the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science co-authored by marketing professor Courtney Szocs. A pilot study, two field experiments, and five lab studies show that low (vs. high or no) volume music/noise leads to increased sales of healthy foods due to induced relaxation. The results of field studies conducted in a café and a supermarket along with lab studies, show that high volume ambient music leads to higher proportion of sales of unhealthy foods while low volume ambient music leads to more sales of healthy foods.

The Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science (JAMS) is devoted to the study and improvement of marketing and serves as a vital link between scholarly research and practice by publishing research-based articles in the substantive domain of marketing.

About the Department of Marketing

The Department of Marketing at LSU’s E. J. Ourso College of Business prepares its students for careers in sales/management, advertising, buying, product development, retailing and market research. Our mission is to enhance and advance the reputation for excellence of the department, the college, and the University through high quality, transformative, research programs. For more information, visit the Department of Marketing website or 225-578-8684.


Elizabeth Eaton
E. J. Ourso College of Business