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Background music is important for any restaurant or bar. It compliments the atmosphere, and can increase sales if used correctly. A Background music service can put together playlists that accomplish these goals, but it’s important to choose a provider that fits your needs.

These are the types of services to consider, with the pros and cons of each.

Internet Music Streaming Services for Business

Many Internet music streaming services offer music streaming for consumers, but few offer their services for business use. Services that do offer this for business use allow you to use mobile devices to stream the music into your restaurant.


  • No hardware costs (if you have a mobile device).
  • Complete customizability.
  • Music can be edited quickly remotely.
  • Easy to implement. Just plug your mobile device into your sound system.
  • Huge libraries of music.
  • Sometimes playlists are customized to your business.
  • The service provider can update the platform with new features easily without you having to buy new hardware.


  • Most consumer streaming services aren’t licensed for business, and their terms of use prohibit commercial use of the platform.
  • May not be the best option if you don’t have Wi-Fi in your restaurant.

PC Based Music Services for Business

PC systems are the most basic type of streaming service for businesses but are also the least popular. These systems allow users to use a PC to edit and stream the music over the Internet.


  • No need for hardware if you have a computer.
  • Fast and easy to set up.
  • Easy to use and change playlists.


  • As mentioned above, consumer streaming services are often not licensed for business. Be sure to check the terms of use for restrictions of commercial use.
  • Requires internet connection.
  • Your PC will be streaming music all day, which will eat up some processing power. This can slow it down for other things, and if your computer stops working or you need to restart it, the music stops.
  • PC based music services are known to be the least reliable for business use.
  • Most businesses don’t have a computer to dedicate to music use.

Satellite Radio for Business

Satellite radio providers often offer subscriptions for businesses to use their radio stations in their business. These services often have a fixed set of stations for you to use, and offer limited customizability.


  • No need for a Wi-Fi connection.
  • Simple setup.


  • Limited Customization.
  • Programming is extremely repetitive, which can bother employees.
  • Need to purchase hardware (usually for around $200).
  • An antenna needs to be mounted for a good connection. This may require a technician for installation.

Store and Forward Systems for Business

These systems often dedicate a hard drive to music. They’re called “Store and Forward” systems because they store the music locally and forward it to the speakers in your business.


  • Complete customization is available for most of these systems.
  • Can be integrated into your phone system for on-hold music.
  • Easy to install.
  • No Wi-Fi or internet required


  • While customization is offered, unlike the Internet music streaming services mentioned above, the customization isn’t instant or remote.
  • More expensive than other options.
  • Innovations and updates can require new hardware and installation.


Ultimately, you want to choose the background music provider that best understands the culture and atmosphere of your restaurant. Think about what’s most important in a music provider for your restaurant, and work with them to develop a playlist that perfectly reflects your restaurant’s vibe and personality.

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