Sony has collaborated with Eurostar to offer passengers travelling on its trains a “Sound Menu”, delivered via the on board entertainment system. The specially curated playlist is designed to help people feel more calm, boost productivity and increase focus. Hannah Hastings reports
In a recent survey conducted by One Poll, 27 per cent of 2,000 British people said they never felt fully relaxed when travelling, with a further 23 per cent admitting they felt tense and stressed when heading to important meetings. 39 per cent said noise from other passengers was one of the biggest stress factors to their daily commute. However, 66 per cent said listening to their own music helps lift their mood and keep them relaxed.
Based on these results, Eurostar and Sony have decided to create a Sound Menu for people to listen to when going back and forth on Eurostar services. The partnership has, of course, been designed to promote Sony’s 1000X noise-cancelling headphones, but does represent a growing trend for brand collaborations, as well as “positive psychology”.
Available until the end of May 2017, the Sound Menu has been created by Dr Alexandra Lamont, senior lecturer in the psychology of music at Keele University, who has been studying how music can influence emotions and the listening habits of travellers.
Lamont says: “Creating an ‘auditory bubble’ while travelling, such as through the use of noise cancellation technology, can allow passengers to get more from their journey, helps people block out environmental noise and allows them to focus on the moment or the task at hand.
“We know that different music creates different moods, and the traveller can immerse themselves in music that suits or changes their mood to make the journey pass more pleasantly. Being able to eliminate these noises and replacing them entirely with the sound of your choice leads to an all-round more relaxed experience”.The Sound Menu, which is being been tested on all e320 and e300 Eurostar trains, has five playlists comprised of more than 300 hours of content:
- Focus – music with medium-high levels of sound, not too much pitch variability, and motivating but unobtrusive patterns.
- Boost – music with a fast tempo, high pitch, building rhythms and rising melodic contours.
- Calm – slow beats with simple textures, scenic and inspirational music and sounds with gentle rhythms and slow tempos, mixed in with sounds of nature.
- Relax – expansive music with some movement behind it.
- Unwind – calming music that takes some of the energy out of the journey and takes you to a calmer place, with slow beats and relaxing tracks.
Matt Coupe, Sony’s head of sound in the UK and Ireland, says: “We know that music, if listened to in the right way, can be a form of escapism or can help focus the mind. Our 1000X headphones give travellers the opportunity to experience our best noise cancelling to cut out the chaos around them.
“Plus, with our ‘Quick Attention Mode’, travellers can simply touch the side of their headphones so they’re still able to hear announcements or order a coffee on board.”