Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Air time

When I talk to creatives about great sisomo (sight, sound and motion on screen), the conversation always circles back to our favorite music. I travel a lot and one of the ways I get through the nightmare of waiting, shuffling and waiting some more, is by listening to music (you can check out a typical playlist here). We all know how music affects mood and we’ve all been in supermarkets and elevators listening to what passes for mood-enhancing music. However, it seems to me to be more about stupefying people rather than uplifting spirits. Someone once famously said that “music hath charms to soothe a savage beast” and I think that Delta Air Lines must have been inspired to take that literally. Yes, Delta has started using music to speed up the process of getting people onto their planes. They got the idea when their cabin staff noticed that playing upbeat music inside the plane seemed to have a direct relationship to passengers getting into their seats faster. Now the Delta boarding playlist has something of a cult following with sites like CD Baby announcing new additions and replacements.

So what sort of music makes you head to your seat a little faster? Coldplay’s 'Strawberry Swing' and 'On The Radio' by Regina Spektor both do the job, and so does the well-named 'Come On Get Higher' by Matt Nathanson. No doubt we will see other industries go further with integrating music into their business with one set of playlists for test drives and a different selection for when the workshop is running behind time. It seems to me the Delta idea gets the best of both worlds: happy customers and faster delivery. By the way, the “savage charm” quote was by William Congreve, who went on to add that music could also “soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak”. Maybe construction sites should consider personalized sounds tracks as well.