Tuesday, August 26, 2008


The culture inside BIGGBY COFFEE shops is influenced by many things...one of those things is the music playlist. I think the concern by many is that something like music in 'any' retail operation can be contrived...and plastic. Our objectives are different, sure BIGGBY has a set of criteria that can veto a choice, but otherwise there are so many choices and so many ideas....that can't be found on a 'top 40 list'...why wouldn't we use them? It's part of the BIGGBY way, ya'know?

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...here is an update by Bill Chapin of Plugged In

Help suggest music for a coffee shop playlist
Posted by Bill Chapin August 25, 2008 16:35PM
Categories: What I'm Digging

I doubt I'll be making any suggestions found on this disc.Today's lesson: Be careful what you wish for in your blog, because people who can grant your wish may actually be reading it.
I kind tossed off a blog entry late on a Friday a week and a half ago in which I not-at-all-seriously (OK, maybe half-seriously) suggested that the folks at Biggby Coffee allow me to create daily playlists for them to play in their stores. I'd noticed a new mix of music when I was in the Jackson location earlier that day and been excited to hear some obscure indie folk-pop.

First, the entry got a comment from none other than Biggby Bob himself. Then today a comment appeared from Jeremy DeRuiter, who identified himself as the guy who headed up the committee in charge of Biggby's new music mix. His entire comment is reprinted after the jump.

Hey Bill,
I headed up the committee that piloted BIGGBY through the recent change in music, so I was very happy to read your comments here on the change. You're exactly right about the old music...not worthy of hate, but not really anything that's going to have you tapping your foot while you wait in line. Boo.

We aimed for tracks that were high energy and fun, and a mix that included stuff off the beaten path like the Fruit Bats, not-so-well-known tracks from well-known artists, and a dash of sing-along-worthy hits as well.

As to repeats, yep there's always a threat of that, despite the 19+ hours of music on the current disc, but if baristas are hearing the same song every day, something is fishy. I was very very sensitive to the "threat" of repeats on the playlist, only having recently recovered from a couple years of loop-trauma back in college when I worked at a video store that played a 1 hour promo tape on repeat for a full month...ugh!

A new mix per day isn't in the cards just yet — though there will be a new disc hitting stores later this week — 20 summery songs pulled out, with 70 new tracks added, half of which were song requests submitted by staff members. Once we hit the maximum size for the disc a few mixes down the road, we'll get a bit more aggressive with turning over a larger percentage of tracks so stuff stays fresh.

So, while I can't take you up on your daily playlist offer, I think it would be fun to see what you could bring to the November mix — drop me a line at jderuiter@biggby.com with 10 tracks you think would go well with our mix, and if they meet our standards for energy and fun (and can clear licensing ... ) I'll add them to the mix!

Phew! A longer post than I planned on — can't help it though — having my finger in the BIGGBY music pie is just too much fun. ;)

Thanks again for the thoughtful comments.

All the best,

First of all, let me just say thanks to Jeremy for shedding a bit more light on how all of this works. I'm always curious about how businesses arrive at the music that plays over their speakers. I may have misunderstood what the barista told me about the repeating song, or she may have been exaggerating for effect, but it's nice to know I won't hear the Fruit Bats every time I go to lunch.

Second of all ... me? You want me to suggest music? Oh boy. You don't know what you've gotten yourself into. (You may want to check today's lesson at the top of the post.)

Because I believe in democracy and I wouldn't want my newfound sense of music-programming power to go to my head too much, I'm going to open this up to you readers. Got an idea for a song you'd like to hear next time you order a latte? Send it my way, either by posting a comment below or shoot me an e-mail. I'll reserve up to five spots on my 10-song list for your suggestions and pass them along to Jeremy. Remember, we're trying to compliment the existing mix as described above. If you suggest something totally ridiculous, I'm going to skip it. As much as I appreciate the technical proficiency it requires, death metal and coffee really don't go together.


Anonymous said...

This is great! Our music selections have come a long way thanks to Jeremy and his committee! Having acustomer's perspective is awesome! Keep up the great work everyone! ch

The Butz Clan said...

May I suggest, We are the Champions by Queen!

BIGGBY BOB said...

Funny :)

Anonymous said...

"We Are the Champions?" That just a bit cliche, don't you think? I don't think we're going for the sports arena feel. No "Eye of the Tiger."

But my tastes run to ABBA, so I'm really not entitled to comment on anyone elses taste. Waterloo, anyone?

Shannon said...

I love the band, Over the Rhine, they've been around for a long time and have great music. Check out the song, 'Don't Wait for Tom' from their 'The Trumpet Child' album... it's aquirky fun, toe tappin' tune :o)

Anonymous said...

Check out 7Nations- they are a celtic band that mixes traditional instrumentation with modern rock. They are fantastic- I'd never seen someone jam on a fiddle until I saw these gents on their pub tour. I recommend their song 'Waiting for Midnight'...amongst many others.

JD said...

I love it! I haven't had time to check on 7 Nations and Over the Rhine (haven't heard of either) yet--I'm teaching this week, so not much "free" time, but I look forward to it. Thanks! -JD (Jeremy)