Music in Business

Mangawhai Tavern - Sounds Good

Iconic amongst the music loving community, there have now been several generations that hold steadfast memories of Summer’s gone by at The Mangawhai Tavern, blissing out in the sunshine, enjoying a few beverages while listening to their favorite Kiwi bands.

OneMusic spoke to Fred, the Mangawhai Tavern manager, who's been involved long enough to be able to share some of the stories that no doubt will have many readers heads nodding. Fred says, “many of the stories involve the Exponents. From stories of people leaving their run to late to book so; from rowing over the estuary or to catch a glimpse standing outside the barbed wire  or intentionally going to visit friends with houses nearby. Real fans will find a way not to miss out. One family held a Fat Freddy’s Drop party in their backyard as they could hear every word. “

The stuff of legends, Jimmy Barnes, Dave Dobbyn and Bic Runga (before she got super famous) have kept the Mangawhai Tavern as a venue in the proverbial ‘street of music dreams’ of venues that bands dream about booking.  Fred recalls, “holding gigs since way back, since Tim Walkers time, the one that stands out more than any other was the phantom re-opening party last year. It was planned as a re-opening with Mystery Guests, the rumor mill kicked in and 2000 people turned up on the afternoon! Six60 as regular holiday makers played a few songs and the rest of the re-opening afternoon is now firmly written into the legendary history.”

The new owners, a mix of local families and long standing bach owners, purchased the pub with one single thought in mind. Every cent of profit goes back into the coffer tagged to the building restoration program. When asked about future bookings, Fred said, “The only thing we expect is that the bands work their butts off and make a great gig for our patrons. We are not into paying huge guarantees BUT we are into giving opportunities and helping bands do really well. The more professional, the more effort and talent, the more likely they will do financially and future-wise. We always have the month ahead booked so would appreciate hearing from artists well before they are planning a tour so we can make it as worthwhile as possible. The Mangawhai Tavern has a really active Facebook page and we are keen to hear from anyone that wants to talk. As well we’d appreciate any photo’s or recollections of former gigs they’ve had here as we are currently curating a wall of memorabilia.”

“This summer we’ve started Sunday Sessions which spotlight emerging talent as well as established performers that just want to jam. We’ve had Ben Ratima who nailed it as did Tess McDell, The Monkey Assassins, Wakakura, The Slacks, White Chapel Jak, Andy Richards and heaps more. These Sunday sessions are free but a koha is always cool!”


Jukebox Diner Hamilton

If Classic Cars make you tremble at the knees Elvis dance style, then you will find Classic Cars and more at the Classics Museum in Hamilton than your wildest dreams could conjure up.  Within the Classics Museum, aptly named, the Jukebox Diner.  Back in the day the diner was the classic meeting place and every diner featured a Wurlitzer Jukebox. The Jukebox Diner’s Wurlitzer features hits from the 50’s and 60’s era. It is a trip down memory lane for many visitors and an eye opener on another era for the younger members of the family.

Abracadabra, good food and good vibes found in a Rotorua Villa

Set in a large Rotorua villa, Abracadabra Café Bar and Restaurant founders support an ethos of conscious consumption. Supporting local businesses for all procurement where possible including both Wine and Craft Beer grown and developed in the region.  “Our goal is to cook for you & provide a rustic, bohemian unique ambiance so that you may feel inspired, connected with loved ones & make new friendships, it’s about good food and good vibes,” says Nadia Goldbert and Justin Genest.

Casa Publica - When Breaking The Rules Was Big Business

 Think back to a time when prohibition ruled over America. Dark times for some. For others, a time of opportunity and prosperity. One who seized the moment was Mr Hugo A Chile. Hugo was born 27 June, 1905. He was only 15 when the prohibition came into effect, about the time he was taking over his father’s mini-home distillery. Originally learning his craft to support the now fatherless family, Hugo created unthinkable profits by running rum to LA.

When you enter Casa Publica, you’re entering Hugo’s world. A world of smooth sites and sounds

Cobb & Co - Serving Kiwi classics daily

 When asked, “who goes to Cobb & Co.?” Chris Churchward, CEO, says “it’s easier to answer, who doesn’t go to Cobb & Co.!”.  There’s always a time and a place for Cobb, with everyone.  It’s all about friendly wait staff serving classic NZ meals, to Kiwis, in a good NZ environment.  Our music fits in: popular, familiar, happy.

We are what we always have been: NZ’s original restaurant serving simple, fresh NZ food.  A Kiwi classic


Gina’s Italian Kitchen – Indimenticabile ospitalità autentica

Gina’s has been creating memorable dining occasions in true tratorria style since 1994, whether a birthday celebration, an office team building exercise, sports club end of season wrap party or a night to catch up with a group of friends, Gina’s reputation for understanding socializing and celebration is well documented. Between Joyce and Alessandro they put the party into the dinner party.

Transporting you from Symonds St to village life in Italy where every night is celebrated, vivere la dolce vite – living the sweet life.

The high-energy atmosphere is casual the service is informal creating an atmosphere befitting the generosity and abundance of Italian hospitality; it is synonymous with Gina’s Italian Kitchen. Food made with love and served with flare. Gina’s reputation is beyond the geographic bounds of central Auckland dining, it is a destination sought by those looking for an unforgettable Italian dining experience.Italy is known for its love of music.

Celebrating everyday is good to be alive is certainly that at Gina’s Italian Kitchen. The music transports you to Italy as you walk in the door. In the kitchen no doubt, the sounds of Italy creates the atmosphere to ensure the food is made with love.

Rated as the best Mexican food in the Southern Hemisphere, Mexico continues to create a fun high-energy vibe. The Latin music beats transporting you to Mexico for a truly authentic dining experience.

The first Mexico restaurant was opened in Britomart in 2012; there are now 6 Mexico restaurants across New Zealand. The initial aim was to create a social dining experience that delivered exceptional value for money. Finding an unloved part of Britomart, and pouring ideas, passion, and energy an outstanding Mexican experience was established. The main highlight of the Mexico journey so far would be consistently delivering a high quality restaurant experience to a large number of customers every week.

Mexico has found a very individual space in the NZ Hospitality industry. The menu is a light, fresh & seasonal. It is a take on Mexican street food, fused with modern flavours that express their passion for flavour, colour and boldness in everything the team do. From the amazing drinks and dishes, to the casual fast and friendly service.

The beautiful Mexican inspired wall art mesmerizes its guests who find the unique nature of the carefully curated collection inspires and delights. It may even be responsible for inspiring its customers to holiday in Mexico!

Music is the heartbeat throughout all of the restaurants. It ties the authentic wall art, the dimmed lighting, the authentic street food and beverages and acts as an upbeat hum that brings life to the overall Mexico experience. In most instances, Spanish/Latin music or alternative music that has a Latin feel about it is played. Most of the lyrics are in Spanish as it adds to the atmosphere of creating an authentic Mexican experience.

The Marketing team in HQ create playlists that all the restaurants play they are updated weekly to keep on top of the classics plus utilizing the weeks most popular new Latin music.

Little -Easy -Banner

Little Easy

Music working with classic kiwi hospitality

Little Easy and The Rooftop Rum Pub are all about creating an easy-going classic kiwi pub vibe. Music is one of the key ingredients they use to deliver a fun and friendly atmosphere and a laid-back and welcoming style.

Little Easy occupies an iconic space that has a long history on Ponsonby Rd. Once Tuatara, then Sponge and Chicane and then more recently The Franklin, Little Easy opened its doors to the people of Auckland in March 2014. The concept and fit-out were all about going back to the basics of true, classic NZ hospitality.

Taking the building back to exposed brick, opening up the kitchen to add more light and delivering unpretentious fun and classic “pub-dom” has been at the heart of their business. And it seems to have stuck a chord with their growing number of customers. There was strong interest from day-one – but now they have a loyal clientele, employ over 40 people and are having a whole lot of fun along the way.

The Little Easy music soundtrack is relaxed during the day, builds after work and finishes the night with high energy fun. DJs three nights a week across their two levels make sure they hit the right note for each time of day - always making sure the atmosphere is social and fun. They balance the “over 100” requests they receive every night with their own take on what their audience wants to hear.

The team knows it would be impossible to create the right atmosphere and keep customers coming back without music, so they’re happy to support music creators through their OneMusic licence. They believe it’s important that music creators get paid for their work - just as much as it is that their customers pay for their food and drinks. For Little Easy, it’s all part of doing good business – which they’ve shown they certainly know how to do!



Encore -Cabaret _2

Encore Entertainment + Cabaret Restaurant

Auckland’s world-class cabaret, with music at the heart of its business.

Music is pivotal to the success of Encore Entertainment, a show and dinner experience that plays a leading role in providing the character and energy of Auckland’s Karangahape Road.
Encore has been in business for two years and its popularity continues to grow as more customers enjoy this night-out-with-a-difference and spread the word. A night at Encore can involve a mix of entertainers ranging from live singers, Vegas-style show girls, drag artistes, aerial gymnastics, magicians and even a topless male waiter for Hen’s parties when the occasion calls for it - all topped off with a high-quality buffet or set menu dinner.

Music is used throughout the Encore experience in range of different ways. Ambience is created during the buffet dinner with carefully selected background music, individually selected tracks are programmed into the live performances and towards the end of the night, featured dance music is used to cap-off the evening on the dance-floor.

“We have different people involved in choosing our music based on the type of show we are delivering to our audience. Our customers can range from corporate groups through to hen’s parties, and everything in between. Because we cater to our individual audiences we often get feedback from our customers that they love the music we play” says company director Chris Mears.

“Our company directors, along with our DJ/Sound technician, select the music we play at each stage of the evening. It’s crucial to us that we get this right and create the very best experience we can for our customers. It’s not necessarily about what we would like to hear, but what works best for the show and the overall experience”.

As performers themselves, it’s important to the Encore team that the creators of the music they play are paid for the use of their work. “We are artists in our own rights, so are aware of the value of the creative work we and others produce. We also recognise that music is crucial to our show, so holding a OneMusic licence is a straightfoward way to be sure we are doing the right thing by the musicians whose work we use” says Chris Mears.

While music is a particularly important part of the Encore Cabaret experience, the basic principles for making music work hard for a business apply to everyone. Know your customers, know your brand and the type of experience you want to deliver and then carefully select a style and music playlist that helps you deliver on this every day.




Boarder Town Story Collage


NZ’s Premier Skate and Snow Store

Boardertown is the kind of kiwi business success story we all love. Take two 18 year-old snowboarders called Matt and Dan, who find themselves back in NZ after a season’s snowboarding overseas. Add some great ideas they’ve picked up on their travels, a dream to own their own business, and you get the start of what’s now NZ’s premier skate and snow store.

Despite a lack of cash and retail smarts, the boys opened their first shop in Howick in 2004 with a handful or skateboards and snowboards. While it was a start, the first few years were a hard slog. There were break-ins, even a ram-raid, not to mention the full-time jobs both Matt and Dan held down to support the business. But gradually, the hard work and the commitment they showed to their customers and the local skate and snowboarding community started to pay off. Enter Tim Guy, Boardertown’s current Head of Operations, a decision to move the store to Botany Town Centre and you get the momentum that has created an Award winning business in just a few short years. 

Boardertown has a successful online retail service, but believes their success has really grown through building lasting relationships with their customers. As well as offering a superior brand and product offering, the Boardertown team treats every person visiting their stores with respect – no matter who they are or where they come from.

It’s important to Tim that the business supports the team by creating the right in-store atmosphere and a big part of this comes down to playing the right music. “Music is critically important. It sets the right atmosphere for our stores that reflects who we are as people and as a business”

The Boardertown team understands their customers well and they know the sounds they hear in store are really important to them. “We mix it up, but generally we play a lot of early ‘90s hip hop and indie bands, interlaced with some electronica. We regularly get asked what’s playing – especially the older tracks!” says Tim.

With strong ethics across the business, holding a OneMusic licence is important to Boardertown even though it’s not something their customers see. “We like to play our part and have a positive effect on everyone that comes into contact with our business and that goes for music artists as well. If we are contributing to the music scene then we hope that will come back to us in the long run”.

These strong values extend to continually investing in their community and supporting the local skate and snow scene. Part of every Boardertown sale goes to sponsoring local skaters and snowboarders and to ensuring there is a greater access to skate parks.
Boardertown have stores in Botany Town Centre and College Hill in Auckland and are on the look-out for more locations around the country. You can visit their online store


The Performancenet

Changing lives through music and the performing arts.

The is a unique performing arts training company for young people aged 4 to 18, promoting life skills through dance, drama and musical theatre. From small beginnings in 1992, now boasts a dynamic and experienced team of tutors, led by Tracey Stretton and her husband Michael. The company is based in Auckland and runs classes from 35 separate locations across the city, runs classes in Sydney and is looking to extend its programme around New Zealand.

The team design their own curriculum and call it a “living document” that’s fresh, upbeat and relevant. They are experts in making sure the music they use has a wide appeal so their students are fully engaged in the material each term. At any time their playlists include the latest pop songs, classic hits from the past, hip hop, jazz and children’s favourites from classic musicals - keeping up with current trends is vital to keeping the programme fresh.

And the results for the young people they work with can be life-changing. In a world that is increasingly cluttered by screens, is passionate about the role the performing arts can play in young peoples’ lives. They believe performing arts can be critical in building confidence, encouraging positive social connections, polishing life-skills and raising their students’ own expectations in themselves. This is the underlying philosophy behind the foundation and growth of

A highlight each year is a series of fully produced shows for family and friends, showcasing the hard work and energy that has been invested by the students and tutors over the year. It’s a wonderful celebration that gives students a real taste for the live show environment and lets the home “support team” share in the fun.

Music is the foundation for most of the programmes run by The team know that to excite and motivate their students they need to be up-to-date, choose appropriate material for all ages and provide a mix that appeals to the different programmes they offer. And they seem to be getting it just right – providing amazing experiences every week for their growing number of students and changing their lives for the better along the way.

Learn more about the



Westpac Storefront



Westpac, Eyemagnet and OneMusic - playing music in just the right way.

Playing the right music in-store is a great way to attract customers and motivate staff.

With over 1.2 million customers nationwide, Westpac know how important it is to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for their customers in branches around the country. And they also know that playing the right music can be a simple and effective way to make a visit to a Westpac branch just that little bit better.

So it makes sense that the team at Westpac pay close attention to the music they play in selected branches, and how this is delivered to their customers.

“We know that playing the right music, at the right level, can add to a much more inviting and friendly atmosphere for our customers” says Westpac’s Senior Manager Shared Services Kathryn Lee.

“We pay careful attention to the digital media within our branch environment and a component of this is music, ensuring that the type of music we choose appeals to our customers and also that the playlists we use are regularly updated. This keeps the music fresh and interesting not only for our customers, but also for Westpac staff who spend their days in our branches.”

Consistency is also important, so Westpac use software and media services company Eyemagnet, who manage the delivery of digital media, to not only compile and update playlists but to supply video and music directly to selected Westpac branches around the country. New content and music playlists are updated remotely each month, so there is no need for staff to spend any time selecting or programming the music they play - this is taken care of by the Eyemagnet music service solution.

“It’s crucial that the right music is selected for Westpac customers and staff, so along with a range of other services, we compile playlists that we know will work well and will set the right tone and atmosphere in a branch setting” say Paul Treacy, Chief Executive Officer of Eyemagnet.

“The music needs to work alongside all the other aspects of customer service that the Westpac team delivers to its customers. Eyemagnet is there to support these relationships, making sure that music creates an appropriate backdrop and enhances the environment for Westpac customers.”

The final step from Westpac’s perspective is ensuring that the songwriters and recording artists who create the music they play, are paid for the use of their work. “We have no objection to paying a public performance licence fee to OneMusic. Playing music has a value to us and we appreciate that we need to pay music creators for the use of their work - and we’re happy to do this.” says Kathryn Lee.

“It’s important for businesses to be clear about how they use music and which type of OneMusic licence they need for their particular activities. With the new single music licence that was introduced at the end of last year, this whole process has become much easier to understand and it’s also easier to manage from year to year.”

Music can work hard for any business and Westpac, with expert help from Eyemagnet, know how to use it in just the right way.



 Shaky Isles Image Comp V2


For hospitality businesses, playing the right music is an important ingredient in crafting the right atmosphere for their customers. The Shaky Isles Coffee Company has four successful locations around Auckland. Sam Ansley talks about how The Shaky Isles use music to create their own distinctive style and ambience and how other businesses can be sure the music they play is enhancing their customers’ experience.

What style of music works best for your business?

The Shaky Isles Coffee Co. cafes are pretty fun and irreverent in their style, but very serious about coffee and food. Music is very important for us in adding to our experience – so cool hip hop, alternative styles of pop, downbeat, and definitely lots of good NZ music like Ladi 6, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Lorde, Naked and Famous, David Dallas and more.

Do you play specific types of music at different times of the day or night?

Not really, we have a pretty eclectic mix of styles in our main playlist which gets updated and edited every month. While we are really into our music, we also realize that this playlist is playing in the background, so the songs can’t be too full on - the bpm/tempo can’t be too high for example.

What feedback do you get from your customers about the music you play?

Sometimes positive, sometimes negative, the playlist may be a bit hip-hop heavy for some people sometimes, or too alternative for other people – we try to find a happy medium though and remove songs that people complain about. We find that if one person dislikes the music enough to say something about it - then you can be sure others are also thinking the same thing.

How do you go about putting together the perfect playlist?

Knowing what atmosphere you are trying for and what tempo you are after is key. The music you play in a café will be different to a say, a busy bar after work on a Friday. Choosing the right songs that add to the atmosphere for a particular time of the day is crucial. I don’t think it means you have to stick to certain genres, but certain tempos definitely.

Who puts together playlists and operates the music system in your business?

I create the playlists, and it’s probably the most enjoyable thing I do in my job. The managers choose from these to best suit what works for them depending on the time of day.

How would you describe the input music has to your business?

Music adds to our customer experience, it works with all the other aspects that you craft together to create the atmosphere that you need, and that people expect.

The Shaky Isles Coffee Company supports the creators of the music they play by holding a OneMusic hospitality licence. Click here for more information on the music licences available for your business.


Fidels Logo PNG

I’m not really sure what I can say about the value of music to Fidel’s, we need it to survive!!!

We play all sorts of genres from lots of eras.  We try to stay up to date with recent releases but also have some old favourites that never tire!  It can change the vibe with every album – and sometimes every song, for example if its really busy and the background music is too slow – it makes the wait time feel longer than it is. 

Or if the track playing is too upbeat for the amount of people in the building it can come across as harsh and unwelcoming.  Bad music has an effect on the way our staff work too; near the end of shift there’s a few “go-to”albums to amp everyone up til the end.
There is nothing better than watching our customers nod away and mouth the words to what ever is playing and everybody loves it when someone comes up to ask what is playing.   Occasionally we’ll get a few random dance moves busted out too!  The right music is basically as important as the product.  Music is like salt – it makes everything taste better!" 

Kristie Malone
Fidel's Cafe