Music for Retail — Case Study

Dr. Martens

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The Backstory

Iconic shoe brand Dr. Marten's has maintained a deep and long-lasting relationship with music for over five decades. They have stores globally and are expanding rapidly in Europe.

20160519 The-Great-Escape-Festival Dr-Martens Gobinder-Jhitta 2016-Live (114 of 281)

What We Did

Our objective is to make music the heartbeat of the Dr. Martens brand. The in-store music tells the brand story, appeals to the key target customers and makes the stores come to life. We use music to make Dr. Martens as authentic today as it was in the sixties and seventies, a brand that is the apex of rebellious counterculture while being consistently, universally loved and a brand whose diverse outlook has unique playlists to match.

We consult with the marketing team, and other key stakeholders including store teams, to curate playlists and subsequently schedule for each store. Music is selected on the following criteria;

• Durability: Upholding your industrial heritage by designing to high standards of functionality • Authenticity: Being true to your core values • Rebellious: Refusing to accept the norm • Empowering: Enhancing identity and self-expression • Diversity: Embracing alternative lifestyles

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Following these guidelines allows us to curate playlists that mix contemporary music and classic - from heritage artists such as The Clash and The Specials to the disrupters of today including Mykki Blanco, Kojey Radical and Zola Jesus.


We worked with the Primal Scream bassist Simone Butler for International Women's Day. She curated a list of her favourite tracks highlighting a selection of her favourite female and non-binary rising stars as well as much-loved legendary artist tracks from across the decades.

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Monthly Staff Bulletin

Every month, our Marketing Team curates a bulletin dedicated to all things music which gets sent to all Dr. Martens staff across the UK and Europe. We include interesting stats on the most-played tracks of the month, new additions to their store playlists, and a selection of our new album reviews. More recently, we also added a Spotlight feature on artists and bands that are part of the Dr. Martens community to showcase the in-house talent and get their tracks added to the stores' heavy rotation.

Customer Connect

Dr. Martens recently launched an in-store campaign celebrating The Who. Open Ear curated a publically available The Who playlist on Spotify and then set up Customer Connect In-Store allowing customers to scan a code to access and subscribe to the playlist.


"We have loved working with Dr. Martens. It has been a pleasure to bring a curated nuance to the sound of a brand with such a deep history and relevance within the music space."

Leo LaitHead of Music, Open Ear

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