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Backpack Executive

I'm Jason. I've spent most of my career developing marketing strategies for student housing communities. Now, I own Pixel Riot - We help your website send the right signals to land the right visitors. Need Google Ad management? I'm your guy. I have 14 years of experience in digital advertising for Multifamily.

Hey Student Housing, Stop Playing Top 40 in Your Clubhouses

Hey Student Housing, Stop Playing Top 40 in Your Clubhouses
Important Update: I recently discovered, thanks to an industry colleague (Thanks Lindsay B!), that playing music in the manner described below does not comply with the terms and servicing of music providers. UGH. You can read more about this in this article. In short, the major music distributors see this type of streaming as a way to increase the customer experience and they want a cut of the action. So, unless we're willing to dish out more than 9.99 per month (a lot more apparently) the method below is a no-no. What a shame, I know. My new mission is to figure out how to get good music into our clubhouses while appeasing the musical gods. So sorry for the confusion, stay tuned.

Music in our clubhouses and models isn't something we tend to put a lot of thought into. Most of us throw on Pandora or a top 40 radio station. But is there more to it than that? Is there a more scientific approach to stimulating this one of five senses we're taught to cater to? I think there may be, especially for student housing and the 18 – 24 year old demo.

In our college years we tend to break away from the norm, from the mainstream. We're on a mission to define who we are. What better defines us than the music we listen to? During our prepubescent to teenage years we tend to listen to whatever pop culture says we should be listening to - N'SYNC, One Direction, etc. By the time we get to college we're done with that. We want to explore and push the limits of our musical palette. After college we get jobs, have kids, and start our lives. Curated playlists? Ain't nobody got time for that. Back to whatever the radio says I should listen to.

With the rise of all-you-can-eat style music services like Apple Music and Spotify, finding your musical self is easier than ever. Our 18 to 24 year old residents can spend hours discovering new bands and creating their perfectly curated playlists. Because of the effort put into finding music that speaks to them, the college aged demographic has a strong sense of ownership for the bands and songs they curate for themselves and the world to listen to. This type of music can range from the ultra-obscure to the sub-pop indie music that tends to live just under the top 100 songs.

Leveraging music to influence customer behavior and evoke positive emotions during the sales process has always been something I found fascinating. I often wondered what the perfect playlist would sound like.

A couple of years ago I started searching for that answer. First things first - which companies seem to do this the best? Hotels? Na. Elevators? Not likely. Retail? Yes! Take a visit to some retail stores that are popular in the 18 - 24 year old demo - Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, and American Apparel. You'll likely hear lots of “indie” style music with a steady tempo.

I decided to test this theory out. I don't have a model apartment or a clubhouse but I do have a Spotify account and some social media skills. So, I started an indie music blog on Tumblr that targeted college students. Two years later, I have just under 10,000 followers! The blog isn't anything special. I just post songs and playlists from Spotify I think my demo will like. I spend roughly an hour every Sunday cueing up songs for the week.

I mentioned tempo earlier. Is that important? It turns out, it is! This study suggests that slow to mid-tempo music tends to keep customers in your stores (models, clubhouse) longer, they tend to spend more money and have an overall happier experience. Take it a step further, and try to play music that people have strong connections with. Hearing a song you love that is not on the radio could create an instant connection with the outlet playing the music i.e. your community! Better yet, a prospect hears their new favorite song for the first time in your model apartment. Talk about creating a memory!

Music is powerful leasing tool. Just say no to top 40 music.


I Made Some Playlists For You :)

If this is something that interests you, I created two playlists (One on Spotify and a music video playlist on YouTube) to get you started on your musical journey to happier prospects and increased closing ratios. But first, a couple of tips. One, spring for the premium version of your preferred music platform. In the case of these playlists that would be Spotify Premium and YouTube Red. Commercial interruption hurts the prospect touring experience. Second, invest in a decent music streamer for your speakers or TV. Apple TV or Google’s Chromecast are two great pieces of hardware that won’t break the budget.



Spotify: Student Housing Mix

YouTube: Student Housing Playlist



If you have any questions about the playlist or how to set up music / video in your clubhouse and models, I am happy to assist. Have some suggestions or thoughts on using music as a leasing/closing tool? Hit me up in the comments! Enjoy.

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You are very right about this! I know when we host events, too, we always try to play the more Indie music selections as background music. (My own kids taught me this; otherwise I would have had no idea. :))

  Mindy Sharp

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