News broke recently that one of Britain’s high street stalwarts Marks and Spencer has taken the decision to ban piped in background music from its many stores.

In an attempt to lure back the store’s original customers – the so-called ‘Mrs M&S’ – the company will stop playing music in its stores and has announced the cancellation of its licence to play background music.

This article on Sky News quotes Nigel Rodgers, the man who started an organisation called ‘Pipedown,’ which campaigns for the removal of piped-in music, as saying it is ‘the hellish ubiquity of piped music’ that turns people off.

But come now, is a bit of good old fashioned background music all that bad? Well, it obviously depends on who you ask, but largely it depends on how good the background music is. Here at GBM, we love our background music, but even we admit your standard elevator music can be a little bit frustrating – especially for staff, who have to hear it again and again.

While M&S is aiming for an older audience, there is an interesting debate to be had about the business case for playing background music.

Generally, it seems that most research supports it – pointing to music’s ability to improve moods and motivation. Getting the right choice is key, though, and it’ll be interesting to see whether there’s any notable shift in M&S’s profits – apart from the saving they’ll be making on their PRS license – as a result of this decision.