Co-creation of background music: A key to innovating coffee shop management

Quick research facts


Music is known to affect patrons in a service environment, and its types and applications have been widely studied. However, little research has yet addressed the possibility for patrons to create their background music in collaboration with service providers. Also, the coffee shop has often been neglected as a research area for background music application. Jeon et al., explored the potential for co-creation of background music background music in coffee shop management. 

Based on the notion of congruity effect, which holds that congruent background music leads to approach behavior, our research unveils that patrons experience a positive mood from background music in harmony with a coffee shop environment and in turn show approach behavior represented by spending more money and time. More importantly, their research further explores the effect of background music co-creation in boosting approach behavior (via enhanced perceived mood).

The findings of this research suggest that coffee shop owners would benefit from adopting this co-creation strategy in managing their coffee shops.



Music and mood

Individuals with a co-creation opportunity clearly preferred congruent background music to incongruent background music. All of the respondents chose either folk or jazz, the congruent background music, in cases where congruent background music was initially being played.  Patrons encountering congruent background music were more likely to approach the coffee shop environment. Perceived mood was significantly higher among individuals with co-creation than among those without it incongruent background music. In the absence of co-creation, perceived mood was significantly higher in the congruent background music condition than in the incongruent background music condition.

Music and money spent in the coffee shop

When incongruent background music was initially provided, those who had a chance to co-create background  music were likely to pay ₩ 3288 more than those without co-creation. More interestingly, even when congruent background music was already being played, those who co-created background music were willing to pay ₩ 3353 more compared to those without co-creation, indicating the importance of offering co-creation opportunities regardless of the initial congruence of background music with the coffee shop environment. The expenditure per customer was significantly higher among individuals with co-creation than among those without it on the weekends. These results indicate that customers tend to spend more money, even if they do not stay significantly longer when a chance to co-create background music is available. Qualitative analyses further suggest that additional orders were a driver of higher consumption. More desserts such as tiramisu was ordered in addition to drinks. More interestingly, all of the co-creators were either couples or acquaintances, indicating that co-creation was brought up by those who had companions to share experiences with.

Music and time spent in the coffee shop
The difference in time spent between the co-creation present and absent conditions, on the other hand, was insignificant when congruent background was initially played.


Co-creation can be more easily achieved :

Cost-efficient innovation strategy to coffee shop managers: 

How to conduct similar music research for your brand



H1. Perceived mood will mediate the relationship between congruence of background music and approach behavior.

H2. Co-creation will moderate the impact of congruence of background music on perceived mood.

H3a. Individuals with co-creation will perceive a positive mood regardless of the initial congruence of background music with a coffee shop environment.

H3b. Individuals without co-creation will perceive a positive mood only when background music is congruent with a coffee shop environment.

  •  A scenario-based experiment using Qualtrics.
  • 117 respondents (49 congruent background music and 68 incongruent background music).
  • Respondents were assigned to conditions in a 2 (congruent folk background music vs. incongruent hip-hop background music) × 2 (co-creation: present vs. absent).
  •  Provided with a picture of the coffee shop that featured a cozy and comfortable environment with brown wooden tables and a sunset outside the window, participants imagined entering the coffee shop along with an acquaintance on a leisurely weekend.
  •  In the scenario involving the presence of co-creation, respondents were given a chance to select their favorite BGM among given options and were then asked to report their final choice.



Step 3


A 7-point scale anchored by ‘strongly disagree (1)’ and ‘strongly agree (7).’

Approach behavior: (Mehrabian and Russell, 1974 & Donovan and Rossiter’s, 1982)

1. Would you enjoy staying in this café?
2. Is this the sort of place where you might end up spending more money than you originally set out to spend?

Perceived mood: (Allen and Janiszewski, 1989; Roehm and Roehm, 2005.
At this moment: I am feeling (1) good, (2) pleasant, (3) happy, and (4) positive.

Open-ended questions: (Morrison et al., 2011)

1. How much time would you spend in this café?
2. How much money would you spend in this café?

Yes and no questions:

  1. Do you think that the background music you hear now corresponds with the coffee shop environment?
  2. I was offered a chance to select background music on my own.