Dinner Music can refer to various styles of music or soundscapes primarily intended to be passively listened to. It is not intended for dancing or to be the main focus of an audience, but rather to enhance that which is meant to be focused upon, like eating in this case. When played at lower volumes and is not the main focus of an audience it may also be referred to as background music. This ” Low Volume” music may include music played at various events and certain retail venues.
How important is this type of programming, are people really paying attention , are they being influenced in any way as they put the croutons on their salad? The answer is YES.
The Style or genre of the background music, either vocal or instrumental, can cause the mood of the room to change song to song. Therefore in my opinion a preconcieved playlist prior to actually seeing and sharing the space with those you are programming for is useless. The actual playlist must be executed ” on the fly” based on age and cultural factors. At this point you are probably saying ” It’s dinner music,not brain surgery” but again in my opinion this phase of the event establishes the general mood and also allows the guests or attendees to formulate a positive impression on that person providing the evening’s entertainment. Playing from a general ” Smooth Jazz” folder in your program could create an atmosphere where the attendees can begin to plan an early departure from the event based on the assumption that the music is ” Boring” Your selection needs to match the image you want to project to garner a positive reaction while still programming appropriate music for this phase of the event. DO NOT FORCE A SPECIFIC GENRE on your audience , unless specifically requested. Do not assume that all Latins just want to hear Latin Music during dinner. Kenny G is not the ” God” of Dinner Music ( well maybe he is) Do Not play the same artist back to back.
My strategy is as follows , I take the average age of the crowd let’s say for example 40 years old, divide that in half ( 20) subtract 20 years from the present year
( 2017 – 20 = 1997) 1997 I then search the Top 40 charts of that era give or take a few years and select those songs in the Ballad and Low tempo categories that made the charts ( usually low 100 Bpms) Not only does this fall within the acceptable energy level but now connects with the audience on a personal level touching on the sounds of their youth or they’re ” going out years” These selection should be adjusted continuously looking for approval signs in the audience such as head bobbing, mouthing of the words, and general signs of approval. Even though the music is being played at a ” Low Level” you are now eliciting a response from your audience with interfering on the task at hand ( eating) After Dinner the audience will be more receptive to your selections allowing you to be more creative in your programming since you now have their ” musical Trust”