RetailBiz for Monday 14 April 2014 with Tess Bennett

It must be music to retailers’ ears, an Australian has created the world’s first app-based music subscription service for businesses.

DJ Dean Cherny is the creator of StorePlay, which provides playlists to retailers via their iOS device and it is 100 per cent legal, taking care of paying the royalties on all the music featured on its playlists on behalf of the business.

Cherny started his company Marketing Melodies, which owns storePlay and provides music to stores, as a final year university assignment. Twenty five years later he finally has his own platform to deliver music to his customers.

“In late 2011, when iOS devices were taking off I really thought there was an opportunity to create my own platform. So over 2012 I built storePlay and we launched it in December 2012,” he said.

In its first 15 months the app has been picked up by some major names in Australian retail including, Kookai, Virgin Mobile, Karen Millen, Sass + Bide, Hudsons Coffee and Palace Cinemas.

While the app was being built, Cherny spent months in “pretty intense negotiations” with major record labels for the legal rights to play the songs on a mobile device. StorePlay now has agreements with EMI, Inertia, Ministry Of Sound, Mushroom, Shock, Sony, Warner and Universal as well as several niche independent record labels.

How does it work? The app only requires an iOS device, Wi-Fi and an amplifier.

Businesses sign up via the website, pick their playlists, download the app from iTunes and log in. Every month your credit card will be debited and the playlists will arrive on your device in minutes. As a bonus, storePlay sends three hours of new music on the first of every month, making it easy to keep playlists up-to-date with new releases.

“There was nothing like this that had been done anywhere in the world that allowed retailers to be able to have a device, download a playlist and have it literally playing within minutes of subscribing,” Cherny said.

The app is designed to be a familiar-looking music player that is easy to use. It can be programmed to play an entire day of music, skip songs, or create a new playlist from favourite songs. It includes a search function, cross fading and volume levelling.

For Cherny it’s all about offering the business convenience. “With us you get three hours of new music every month. It allows them to constantly have fresh music. You don’t have to go home and search for new music, there is an array of playlists that we think will probably suit most retailers.”

Cherny also curates personalised playlists for businesses with more than 10 stores, which are carefully designed to suit the brand. For example, every song on Palace Cinema’s playlists has appeared in a movie.

“I really try to get to understand a brand… Customisation is really important to me, that’s what I’ve learnt as a DJ for 25 years, trying to play the right music in the right places.”

Cherny points out that storePlay is great for franchisees wanting to put their own stamp on their store. Rather than music being piped into the store from a head office, franchisees can customise their own playlists from a master list provided by the brand.

How much does it cost? Each playlist costs $30, multiplied by the number of stores/devices you want to play it on.

Depending on the size of the business, APRA fees cost between $10 and $50 per month, per store. A store between 150m2 and 499m2 will need to pay $12.13 a month. The price of a PPCA license ranges from $6 to $15, for a store up to 465m2 it costs $8.30 per month, per store.

When it comes to complying with copyright laws, Cherny puts it succinctly, “No one wants to be the retailer caught out doing the wrong thing.”

It’s important to consider the role music plays in keeping a customer in-store and browsing. Having the ‘right’ music playing is so subtle you almost won’t notice it. In comparison, music that seems out of place is jarring and can make a customer turn on their heel and leave, rather than tap their toes.

Version one of storePlay is a music player, however Cheney has big things planned for the app’s future, utilising it as a platform to engage customers and encourage them to spend more time in store.

Currently storePlay only operates in Australia and New Zealand, but the brand is looking to extend into Asia.

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