“You said that you’ve lost me, I didn’t believe it, I’m expecting a new low for me, so I’m going home. Yeah maybe I could fight it, if only I had time to, but baby why, should I?”
These are lyrics sung by British duo Litany in their song “Flaws”, which plays out of the speakers as I wander around Bikini Berlin. And then a driving beat comes in that reverberates through the shopping mall. We’re all familiar with these magical moments: when we suddenly hear a melody that really touches our hearts. Even if we don’t fully understand the language of the lyrics that are being sung.
Music, after all, is very much a lingua universalis that brings people from all walks of life together. For example, a busker singing and strumming his guitar on a busy shopping street in a big city can instantly move complete strangers to tears with his own rendition of a classic song. And for that single moment in time, they all become connected by the power of music.
I take my smartphone out of my trouser pocket and try to recognise the next tune with help from the Shazam app. But I’m disappointed – no results. That’s when I realise that there must be a concept behind the Bikini Berlin shopping mall’s playlist and that it’s not just a random jumble of tracks.
A few days later I catch up with Tim from HearDis!, the agency responsible for the sound of the Bikini Berlin concept shopping mall. Tim is a DJ and music producer and he’s also responsible for marketing at HearDis! He tells me about the concept, how HearDis! started out and about the playlist I heard in the Bikini mall, which consists of hundreds of tracks. Tim explains how a good DJ mix works and how important music is for a successful retail concept that appeals to the customers in an all-round, multi-sensory way.
He also tells me that when putting together the individual music profiles, HearDis! takes a lot of factors into consideration including the times of day, days of the week and the seasons. And they try to appeal to the most diverse people and their pace of life and habits.
Suddenly we hear a faster, melodic beat. And a man’s vocals. Tim and I start nodding our heads, while I pull my smartphone out of my pocket. Once again, I try to find out the name of the track using my app: it’s “Haze” by NIHILS. A brilliant song. Just as brilliant as the playlist at Bikini Berlin. Listen out for it on your next shopping trip!