Editor of the 2017 edition of the guide, Fiona Stapley, said: “Piped music, canned music, muzak, lift music, airport music, call it what you will, it’s there and our readers loathe it in any shape or form. It enlists bitter complaints from our readers and has done so ever since we started the guide 35 years ago. It’s such an issue that we have always asked every main entry pub since 1983 whether or not they have it and then clearly state this in each review.”
She added: “In the end, it comes down to the question we’ve been asking for years. Do good pubs need piped music and do the majority of good pubs’ customers want it? And hand on heart, of all the thousands of pubs we have visited over the many years of producing The Good Pub Guide, it’s pretty rare for us to feel our pub experience has been heightened by what is being played through the speakers above our heads. It’s clear our readers agree so surely it’s time for all publicans to take note and turn it off…”
One comment in the new edition of the guide, which is out now, said: “At best, it’s bad manners foisting a random choice of music on that you have not chosen and do not want to hear, at worst, it interferes with people’s hearing.”
Another said: “Somewhere in the past, someone has persuaded publicans that canned music relaxes customers and encourages them to spend more. It doesn’t. People go to pubs to meet their friends, be sociable, have a drink or a meal and discuss the problems of the world.”
The Good Pub Guide also reported that for the first time, the annual national survey of drink prices shows a very low increase in the average price of a pint – up just 1p from £3.46 to £3.47 in comparison to 15p for the previous year.
There is still a huge 87p price difference between Herefordshire, which is the cheapest county nationwide at £3.21, and London, the most expensive at £4.08. Last year, the difference was 82p per pint.