Music can be used exclusively for subconscious manipulation. Advertisers and the entertainment industry have recognized this and swear by the power of sound.
Music manipulates us every day
Music is part of our everyday life. Whether in a department store, movie theater or on the Internet. Music affects our lives. Sound surrounds us and is even used in a targeted way to influence our perception and actions.
In a movie theater, film music can enhance the impact of a scene. Music in commercials can appeal to our deepest (buying) desires. This is why supermarkets use music as one of their sales strategies to encourage consumption. But how do you manipulate people with music?
Music is a universal language
When it comes to music, you don’t need words to convey an emotional message. Everyone can understand music – music is universal. The bass represents a threat and appeals to our basic instincts—for example, a roaring lion, and we instinctively want to flee.
High-pitched tones and playful melodies convey lightness – for example, the cheerful chirping of birds on a summer morning. The entertainment industry takes advantage of this, using advertising such as music to grab our attention and persuade us to make targeted purchasing decisions.
Where is music used as a means of manipulation?
We encounter music and sound everywhere in our daily life. The selection below shows some industries that consciously use music to influence people subconsciously:
department store music
Music can create a pleasant atmosphere in shops and department stores, preventing uncomfortable silences. Potential buyers have a relaxed feeling. This increases their willingness to buy.
This sales strategy works best in small specialty stores. An example of this is a wine merchant playing a selection of music from the region, thereby positively influencing customers’ buying behaviour.
politics and advertising
Whether it’s a product ad or a party in an election ad, music can influence people’s will in a targeted way. Music is emotion.
The same applies to election ads: Here, political topics are emotionally reinforced, often with the sound of a piano. This facilitates a connection to the politicians presented and their messages. More on the topic of “political music” here.
For nearly a hundred years, film music has been used to make scenes more emotional. Here a symbiotic relationship between image and sound is created. As a result, what is visually displayed appears more tangible. People are manipulated into identifying with the main character or getting excited about the horror scene.
music and feeling
At the end of the day, music conveys a feeling. This is what storytelling creates. There is also a place for storytelling here. Depending on the pitch and how it is played, a melody can evoke a memory in a person and thus trigger a specific emotion.
Conclusion: Manipulation through music
As mentioned earlier, music can be used in a targeted manner to manipulate the will of a target group. Here’s a brief summary of why this is the case:
Music is all around us every day
- Music is universal and understandable by everyone
- Music appeals to emotions and our primal instincts
- Music is used in almost every area of the economy