Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration


Business Administration

First Advisor

Lauren I. Labrecque


Music surrounds us in our daily lives and lives within us as consumers. It has the power to elicit deep emotions in us. Because of music’s power over people, marketers have used music to enhance and direct an emotional response in consumer behavior for decades. These uses of music ranged from ambient forms of music such as in restaurants, at retail, or in public open spaces to more directed forms of music such as in TV commercials or digital advertisements. Despite this expansive use of music used in marketing, this body of research has tremendous opportunity for further exploration. The large body of research from the musical literature, and the research streams of musicology and neuropsychology offer immense opportunity to help explain the deeper context of why marketing researchers see such deep emotional affect in consumers who are exposed to musical stimuli in marketing. Also, by incorporating a multidisciplinary approach to this research though incorporating research from outside of the domain of marketing, subsequently helps to close the gap on many potential marketing research questions.

Therefore, the following dissertation is divided into four chapters. The first chapter is an introduction with an overview of and an explanation of the contributions this dissertation makes to the larger body of audio-sensory marketing research stemming from musicology research, psychology research, and marketing research. Chapter 2 explores the specific components of music, how each is outlined and defined in the realm of marketing research, and how other research domains can shed light on additional implications of music’s effect on consumers. More specifically, chapter 2 takes us on a journey into multiple components of music such as: how music has been used and researched in marketing, the length of music used, ambient versus targeted forms of music, and under researched component aspects of music such as timbre and its power over consumers’ emotions. Through exploring these key aspects of music and marketing, a new conceptual framework and map is formed as a foundation for future research.

Chapter 3 outlines musical tension and resolution and tests its effect on consumer attitudes through four empirical studies in support of seven hypotheses. In experiment 1, it is shown how the tension-build and resolution in musical structure can be paired with advertising to elicit a more powerful consumer reaction and heuristic appeal for the advertised product or service. In experiment 2, a deeper probe is conducted to highlight that this tension build and resolution in the musical structure can vary in its influence on consumer attitudes depending on the location of the tension and resolution structure. Finally, in experiments 3 and 4, underlying factors such as brand familiarity and Need for Cognitive Closure (NFCC) are shown to enhance and attenuate this phenomenon.

Through the exploration of these topics and the research documented through this dissertation, the intent is to expand the conceptual framework, marketing insights, and the methodology that currently exists in the realm of marketing practitioners and marketing scholars in the context of advertising.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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