Marketing Letters

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 325–337 | Cite as

It is all in the mix: The interactive effect of music tempo and mode on in-store sales

  • Klemens M. Knoferle
  • Eric R. SpangenbergEmail author
  • Andreas Herrmann
  • Jan R. Landwehr


Though practitioners have relied on tempo as a criterion to design in-store music, scant attention has been devoted to the mode of musical selections, and no consideration has been given to the potential for the interactive effects of low-level structural elements of music on actual retail sales. The current research reports a field experiment wherein the positive main effect of slow tempo on actual sales reported by Milliman (J Marketing 46 (3):86–91, 1982, J Cons Res 13 (2):286–289, 1986) is qualified by musical mode. A significant interaction between tempo and mode was evidenced, such that music in a major mode did not vary in effectiveness by tempo while music in a minor mode was significantly more effective when accompanied by a slow tempo. That is, the Milliman effect was eliminated for music in a major mode. Implications of our findings and directions for further research are discussed.


Retail atmospherics Musical tempo Musical mode Linear mixed models 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Klemens M. Knoferle
    • 1
  • Eric R. Spangenberg
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Andreas Herrmann
    • 1
  • Jan R. Landwehr
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Customer InsightUniversity of St. GallenSt. GallenSwitzerland
  2. 2.Washington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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