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Why noise speaks to the hustler’s soul

Has anyone done an empirical study to show that loud music is a moneymaker in restaurants, clubs and other social places?

There seems to be a deeply ingrained belief that music attracts customers and their money. The obsession that people of African descent have with music – or is it noise – is an enigma at best. I may be biased on race and music, but it’s supported by my observations in Kenya and across our borders.

Even in our own cars, we play loud music. Youngsters usually wait for their parents to leave home to play loud music. In most neighbourhoods, you can tell when the parents are away by the decibels music is played at.

It could be that we are, by nature, lovers of music going by our traditions; or maybe it’s that music is one of the cheapest forms of entertainment available. Proprietors of social places think music will attract more customers.

However, the truth is that it will attract hustlers without money. A social place may be full of people, but the following day, the owners will find that they made no money. This is to be expected for two reasons.

First, hustlers don’t have a lot of money, so any money will first go to the necessities of life like food. That might be the reason music is popular with them – the costs are very low; you just need to sit and listen.

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The only competitor music faces is illicit brews, another form of entertainment. After one or two glasses, you’re happy and high – for a while.

The second truth is that by playing loud music, you chase away those with money. This includes the middle aged and the elderly who would prefer quietness and quality time with friends or family. Who wants to sit in a noisy place where you have to yell at each other while cracking a joke, catching up on life or negotiating a deal?

It’s no wonder you don’t find loud music in five-star restaurants.

Loud music may be the hustler’s way of marketing. It’s effectiveness, however, is questionable.

It’s also possible that some people make money from loud music because, like alcoholic drinks, it interferes with your mind and reasoning. That’s why music becomes louder and weirder as the night ages.

The last time I visited a casino on the shores of the Mississippi River, I recall being welcomed with a free glass of beer and loud music. Do I need to explain why?

What’s been your experience with loud music? Let us know: [email protected] [XN Iraki]

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