Coffee shop jazz is a genre all of its own. This type of music helps customers focus, relax or just enjoy their cup of coffee. The slower tempo of some coffee shop jazz can encourage them to stick around and spend more money in your shop.
Conversely, you can turn up the tempo if you want people to keep moving and encourage them out the door. Yet at the same time, you can't go too far away from that smooth background music people have come to associate with coffee shops.
Studies show customers want their music to fit the place they're patronizing, and a lot of people come to coffee shops to work, socialize, or relax. You need to create the right vibe, so what kind of easy listening playlists can do that?
1. Background Music
Background easy listening music shouldn't intrude or draw attention to itself, and it's a plus if it also helps people focus. Good background music is familiar and comforting while not being repetitive; the mind is drawn to unfamiliar tunes and tends to focus on them, which can distract your customers from their work, conversations, or even relaxation.
The goal here is to find sounds that create an ambience. If you're looking for something especially positive and bright, try the Happy Upbeat Background Music album by Melodality. For something more soothing, try the Mindful Guitar album by the Inner Harmonies.
2. Smooth Jazz
This crossover genre avoids the improvisations common to unstructured jazz and emphasizes melodies for a more easy-listening vibe. Jazz purists will debate whether this change is good or not, but for a coffee shop, this type of coffee shop jazz can be perfect. It is calming, relaxing, and fits the vibe of most cafes.
Try Smooth Jazz Hits: Ultimate Grooves, a compilation by Concord Jazz, for a great selection of some of the very best work in this genre. This album stays away from the “pop-iest” pieces and includes mellow classics by well-known artists.
The Bertelsmann Music Group made a huge splash on the German music scene in 1987, becoming one of the world's biggest record companies and eventually joining Sony and garnering 20% of the world's musical market share.
Today's best BGM playlists are available on 8tracks and have a chill vibe that reminds the listener, subtly, of video games and anime. For the right coffee shop crowd, BGM is the perfect modern mood-setter.
4. Hip Hop
Hip Hop is a true South Bronx original, and it's really more than just a genre of music: it's a whole culture. If you're looking to explore this genre and incorporate the best-of-the-best at your coffee shop, you can't go wrong with the choices from iHeart Radio.
If you want something general that explores the full range of the genre, try the Hip Hop and R&B Top 50 playlist. We also recommend the Battle of the Bands for a great range of music. Mix things up occasionally with the Women of Hip Hop playlist. All are available on iHeart Radio.
5. Lounge Music
If you want the most relaxed vibe possible in your coffee shop, then you might want lounge music. Great lounge music doesn't have a “catchy” tune that forces the listener to focus on the music. Instead, it allows you to get into a different headspace and feel rather than analyze.
Start building your playlist or compilation with these easy listening favorites, on Spotify:
- “Strawberry Swing” by Coldplay
- “Someone Like You” by Adel
- “Che Soave Zeffiretto” by Mozart
- “Pure Shores” by All Saints
- “Electra” by Airstream
- “Weightless” by Marconi Union
- “Watermark” by Enya
- “We Can Fly” by Cafe Del Mar
6. Instrumental Music
This is a great genre for stress relief. It enables you to play popular favorites that customers will love but without distracting lyrics that detract from conversations with friends
Choosing the right instrumental albums allows you to capitalize on favorite melodies and set a relaxing tone.
For something that will allow your customers to connect with the feelings and textures of the outside world while enjoying the intimate comfort of your coffee shop, try the Auragraph album by Memory Tracer (available on Spotify).
For lounge music that combines classical with electronic synth, you can't go wrong with Mixing Colours, an album collaboration of Brian and Roger Eno. We also highly recommend The Piano Guys' album Limitless for your background music.
7. Morning Jazz Music
Jazz for the morning should be upbeat, happy, and positive. It gives your coffee shop an optimistic ambiance that draws people in and inspires them to get creative. Look for improvisational and saxophone-heavy choices here, and don't neglect the jazz greats.
Build your playlist on a foundation of these classic songs:
- “Lover Man” by Sonny Stitt
- “Canadian Sunset” by Gene Ammons
- “I Love You” by John Coltrane
- “Soul Station” by Hank Mobley
- “St Thomas” by Sonny Rollins
- “Escher Sketch” by Michael Brecker
- “Stairway to the Stars” by Dexter Gordon
- “Body and Soul” by Coleman Hawkins
- “Autumn Leaves” by Cannonball Adderley
- “Oh Lady be Good” by Charlie Parker and Lester young
8. Piano Music
The piano has attracted some of the most iconic masters of the jazz genre. One of the best things about jazz instrumental piano music is the sheer variety available.
Start with Relaxed Piano Moods by Hazel Scott under Debut Records. This relaxing piano music isn't the easiest album to find, but Scott was one of the most amazingly lyrical pianists ever to play, and, backed up by Charles Mingus and Max Roach in this album, she's pure gold.
For something a bit more upbeat, try A Garland of Red by the Red Garland Trio. Garland's unique block chords shine through across a range of pieces that will provide some great variety for the background of your coffee shop.
Both are sure to leave customers in a good mood.
Create a Coffee Shop Jazz Music Playlist Today
Remember that sax or jazz music has to do quite a few different things: relax visitors, fit the vibe of your cafe, mute the noise of coffee machines and conversations, and leave people satisfied. Put the same kind of thought into your playlists as you put into your coffee or latte so customers come back for more.