Do you dislike having to listen to someone else's choice of music wherever you go?

Have you ever walked out of a shop because the background music has become so annoying?

Are you often unable to enjoy a meal in a restaurant or a drink in a bar with friends because the piped background music drowns out your conversation? Is this because you have a hearing problem, or suffer from ME, autism, dyslexia or another medical condition which makes you particularly sensitive to background music?

You are not alone ...

Unfortunately, many business owners believe the statistics produced by the music industry and think that the majority of people want music all the time and that it is good for sales. This is simply not true. Impartial research shows that more people dislike piped music than like it. Many successful businesses that don't play background music are thriving. These include John Lewis, Primark, Aldi, Lidl, Waitrose and Wetherspoons.

The music industry is desperate to persuade as many businesses as possible to play music so that they can collect millions of pounds in licence fees. More and more businesses are being persuaded to take out licences under the mistaken belief that non-stop piped music is what their customers want.

As a result, a large number of shoppers have been driven to shop online when they would prefer to shop on the high street. Many people no longer dine out at restaurants or go to pubs because the background music prevents them from hearing what their companions are saying. This is especially true of people with hearing problems (one in six of the adult population) and the elderly who often hear background music at a louder volume than younger people.

What is Quiet Edinburgh?

Quiet Edinburgh is an initiative by Edinburgh members of Pipedown, campaigners for freedom from piped music in public places. Our aim is to identify businesses in the capital where it is possible to shop, relax or dine without someone else's choice of music in the background. Our website includes listings of cafés, restaurants, bars and shops in Edinburgh and the Lothians where either no piped music is played or a "muzac-free" area is available (by including an establishment in the list, we are not commenting in any way on its standards or services).

If you dislike enforced background music but are uncomfortable complaining about it, please have a look at our "people power" page for suggestions as to positive ways you can get your views across. The owners of restaurants, bars and shops need to realise that, by playing non-stop background music, they are actually alienating many potential customers and encouraging more and more of us to shop online. If you agree, please make your views known.

Last updated November 2017

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