Why Hearing Taylor Swift & Katy Perry Can Spoil Your Meal

Photo: Gary Miller/FilmMagic.
If you want to keep your dinner down, you don't want to turn certain artists up. Like, say, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry.
That's according to a new study from Soundtrack Your Brand, a Spotify-backed music-streaming startup that offers tailor-made playlists for businesses, which looked at how the music you hear while eating out affects your dining experience.
According to Quartz, Soundtrack Your Brand collected surveys from 2,101 customers at 16 different locations of a "major global food chain" that should remain nameless to figure out what music makes you want to stick around for dessert. They tested four different music experiences at these locations: a mix of Spotify’s top 1,000 songs including both popular and lesser-known tracks that fit the restaurant's brand; a playlist that only included Spotify's biggest hits that were on-brand for the eatery; a random selection of songs; and no music at all.
What they found was music that fit the restaurant's whole vibe encouraged people to order a milkshake or a smoothie, but a "thoughtless" mix of mainstream pop hits could cause people to rush for the exit. It turns out, pop music is at odds with your stomach.
Soundtrack Your Brand co-founder Ola Sars said that those pop songs you hear on the radio every day might be too busy and distracting for anyone looking to have a little conversation while they eat. Restaurant goers want their background music to stay, as the name suggests, in the background, not become the main course.
In fact, the data found that restaurants would be better off foregoing music altogether rather than playing a random mix that doesn't seem to gel with their surroundings. Apparently, most of us want to know the restaurant we've chosen doesn't just take special care with their menu but with their playlist, too.
While Swift may not make your restaurant-going experience sweet, an experimental psychologist at Oxford University in 2015 reported that her music does make Chinese food taste better. May we suggest take out instead of eating in?

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