Frequently Asked Questions
- How will my business benefit from having an AME-2020 system?
As a business operator, you must control every aspect of your customer's experience. You pay close attention to store and office design, lighting, HVAC, signage and other concerns. You've spent time, money and effort to make your business look great. Now give your audio environment the same attention your customer deserves.
AME will work with you to create a music and audio environment that motivates your customers and employees and helps make your business grow. Everywhere in your business the audio environment surrounds your customer. Now with AME-2020, you control this environment with a new level of sophistication, ease of use and low cost.
- What effect does audio have on my customers?
Audio or, more specifically, the audio environment can have positive and negative effects on the customers of any business. Many studies have made a direct correlation between audio programming and the behavior of customers.
In a restaurant, music with a faster tempo will cause patrons to finish their meals in a shorter period of time. This means a faster turnover of tables and more customers in and out during the busier times of day like lunch. A more subdued tempo will cause customers to linger. This leads to a larger average check. In the retail world, many companies make use of casual relaxing music to give customers a feeling of comfort and security. This technique has been shown to increase the average amount of time that a customer spends in the store. A longer stay translates into more opportunity to spend money!
Equally important is the effect of music on employees. The right music in the workplace energizes store associates, which enhances their productivity and boosts their morale.
- What's wrong with just playing a radio at my business?
Although radio is "free" and easy to use, it can often do more harm than good. Radio programming is filled with talk and advertisements. Radio offers an endless stream of chattering DJs and provides you no control over commercials featuring competing businesses.
Radio programming is also targeted at very narrow demographic segments. This makes it very difficult for a business operator to find a radio station that fits his/her business' image. Any money saved by using the radio as a music source can easily be lost with just a handful of dissatisfied or unmotivated customers.
Finally, radio is day parted based on the needs of the radio listener, not the customer in your place of business. The conclusion is that radio is "free" and the user will always get his/her moneys' worth!
- Who is AME?
American Music Environments (AME) is a new development in background music and signage technology - a system so unique it's patented. (U.S. Patent #5,726,909) AME provides highly customized environmental music and signage to businesses of all kinds with the AME-2020 Digital Music and Marketing System, allowing customers to see and hear specific music or video selections and advertising messages.
Surround your customers with an environment specifically designed for your business. Don't settle for reduced quality when you can possess the crystal-clear sound of the advanced AME-2020 played in full digital stereo and 1080p HD video with the latest digital technology.
- What is the AME-2020 Digital Media and Marketing System?
Simply put, the AME-2020 Digital Music and Marketing System is a computer-based media delivery system that stores and plays digital media elements at the customer location and uses the Internet to make software upgrades, programming changes and content updates.
The AME-2020 Digital Music & Marketing System is a groundbreaking platform, the cornerstone of which is the AME-2020 control unit. The AME-2020 control unit employs a powerful combination of patented software, high availability hardware and the power and flexibility of the internet to give businesses the unique ability to take control of their environment. The AME-2020 control unit is capable of storing in excess of 25,000 songs and video clips in addition to thousands of announcements and other media items. At last, only your imagination can limit the possibilities of brand support and merchandising efforts.
- What seperates AME from the competition?
AME is the newest development in business media technology. Only AME uses the power of the internet to give you interactive control over your business environment. Our exclusive patent (U.S. Patent #5,726,909) insures that all other systems are limited in their functionality and prohibited from providing an interactive control interface.
AME developed and patented the system that will keep you on the leading edge of capability for years to come! Since AME is a computer-based system, software upgrades are automatically and seamlessly delivered to your system with no user intervention or cost to you.
Every client has full access to our entire music library of consisting of tens of thousands of recordings released from the past 60 years. Other vendors charge extra for additional, seasonal or specialty music.
- How is the AME-2020 system different from a satellite service?
AME does not use the model of "channels" in the selection and delivery of content. The AME-2020 system is programmed specifically for each and every location by blending content categories together and scheduling them into day parts for each weekday. Since the categories can be drawn from our standard library or prepared from scratch to meet specific customer requirements, this facilitates the highest level of control over your business environment. Furthermore, the schedules can be programmed in advance to adjust to correspond with special promotions, holidays and seasons or for any other time-sensitive reason. Imagine preparing your Christmas program in September so that Christmas content begins playing for 20% of the time in mid November escalating to 100% by December 7th and stopping altogether on January 1st! No other vendor can provide this kind of total customization. The most amazing part is that this capability does not cost an extra dime!
Another drawback inherent in all satellite-based services is repetition. Although some of the satellite music providers claim to have over 2 million songs in their library and over 100 channels of programming, they will utilize as few as 100 items in the play lists of each of these channels. The result is severe repetition and potentially serious problems with both customers and employees.
Satellite systems also involve a relatively complicated and costly installation process. A Satellite dish must be mounted and positioned on the roof of the business. Many businesses cannot use Satellite systems because they are too far below the roof of the building or there is no clear line-of-site to point the dish at the satellite in the sky. These are especially common problems in larger cities. Also some shopping malls and buildings prohibit the use of satellite dishes altogether.
- AME competitors have the same computer-based delivery systems, right?
Absolutely not. The AME-2020 system delivers a unique feature set that is unmatched by any competing products in the market today. Furthermore, the AME-2020 system is patented (U.S. Patent #5,726,909). The patent effectively prevents our competitors from duplicating our technology once the full benefits of our advanced design become apparent. Below are just a few of the features that set the AME-2020 system years ahead of the competition.
The AME-2020 system provides advanced scheduling and media blending intelligence that resides in the AME-2020 control unit itself. This intelligence enables the system to operate from a set of general parameters (called a profile) to produce the desired result. These parameters can be as simple or complex as each application demands and because each individual AME-2020 unit is in control, the resulting play list is different every time; because this intelligence resides in control unit itself the system does not require continuous updates from a remote programming server and is therefore not sensitive to communication failures.
The AME-2020 system can produce completely independent programs from the same box. A restaurant can play one program of music in the dining area while a different program is aired in the bar! Take any program and introduce announcements, advertising and other messaging items! The possibilities are almost endless and you only need a single piece of hardware and internet connection.
The AME-2020 system features the most advanced control interface available. Using the power and flexibility of the internet you can access your system's profile from anywhere you have internet access! If you have multiple locations, you can program each one independently for total control. Alternatively, for convenience and simplicity you can combine them into one or more groups and update them all in a single step.
- Can AME provide different music to different areas in my business?
Absolutely. Our unique hardware allows you to play completely independent programs (called zones) of media from a single AME-2020 system. For example, a department store could play a top 40s mix in the young men and junior areas and an easy listening mix in the restaurant or connect the AME-2020 control unit to the audio input of your telephone system and use a zone for music-on-hold! The possibilities are endless.
Competing technologies typically requires the use of multiple, separate hardware units to achieve multiple zones. This inferior approach results in increased cost, complexity and higher communication charges.
- Does AME offer Music-On-Hold?
Yes. Music and messaging on hold is an effective way to communicate with your customers. You can use the AME-2020 to deliver a music and messaging-on-hold program by connecting the AME-2020 to the audio input of your telephone system. In fact the standard AME-2020 system delivers completely independent programs from the same control unit. This means that you can address your environmental and on-hold audio requirements together for one low price. Many businesses pay significant monthly fees for a separate on-hold music service while AME delivers this capability at no extra cost. Furthermore, in contrast to conventional technology, the AME-2020 system gives you the same power, flexibility and control over your on-hold audio as you have with your environmental programming.
- How many different kinds of music does AME have to choose from?
AME's parent company is Radio Programming and Management, Inc. (RPM). RPM has been providing music, programming, and consultation to commercial radio stations in all 50 states since 1970. AME draws on RPM's 37 years of programming experience and the resources of a music library containing tens of thousands of commercially released music recording from the past 60 years.
- I need a very customized music blend. Can AME help?
Yes. AME can program a system that is as unique as your business. For example, an AME-2020 system was programmed specifically for the Hawaiian store Hilo Hattie, with locations in Hawaii, Nashville, Tempe, and Miami. The AME-2020 systems in their stores play only Hawaiian music.
AME can incorporate company songs, jingles, sound effects and other special audio items into your programming. Any audio content beyond commercially released music recordings are subject to a nominal extra charge or can be provided by the client.
- How does the system work?
The AME-2020 control unit utilizes custom designed computer and audio hardware in combination with sophisticated, intelligent software. The intelligence needed to generate and schedule an audio or video program resides on the AME-2020 control unit itself. The control unit does not rely on constant uploads of new play lists, programming instructions, schedules or content because these elements are stored locally. The AME-2020 generates the play list in real-time according to rules determined by your requirements. Because the system operates from an on-site library, your audio program will never be interrupted by solar flare, media failures or communication failures. AME-2020 control unit is designed to be installed and forgotten.
The AME-2020 does not utilize "streaming audio" to deliver music programming and the system is not dependent upon a regular or continuous internet connection. Because the AME-2020 control unit stores all of the audio digitally on its built-in solid state memory drive, the AME-2020 system is never subject to outages common on older technologies.
Wherever possible, software upgrades, programming changes and new audio content are delivered to your system seamlessly over the internet. Your system will even continue playing while these updates are being made! If you provide a network connection, physical updates are never needed. If a network connection is impossible, then updates can be delivered using a small USB Thumb Drive.
- Do I need to provide my own computer?
No. The AME-2020 is a complete turnkey solution and AME provides everything you need including the hardware. In fact the AME-2020 control unit comprises a customized computer hardware platform and sophisticated operating software that is only available from AME.
If you want to make programming and content changes to your system then you simply access to our Web site, AMEmusic.com using your desktop computer and an ordinary web browser. No special software is needed. If preferred you can contact AME by telephone or email and an audio environment specialist will make the updates for you!
- How does an AME-2020 system use the internet?
Your AME-2020 system requires access to a network Internet connection in order to communicate with AME servers. During these communications your AME-2020 system uploads important diagnostic information that enables AME to closely monitor the system's performance. More importantly, these communications provide the opportunity to download software upgrades, programming changes and new content in an absolutely seamless manner. Your system keeps playing even while it is being updated!
- Is the system going to slow my network? How much bandwidth does the AME-2020 use?
The system uses efficent proprietary communication and compression software to communicate with AME resulting in minimal bandwidth usage.
- Network Connection
- Uses a network connection to the internet
- Normal daily communication is less than 200 KB
- You can specify a daily time window that determines when the system will communicate. For example, you can choose between 3:00am and 5:00am to ensure the system doesn't use the network when the location is conducting business.
- Network Music Downloads
- When you add new music to the system using the online AME web interface it is downloaded to the system one time.
- The system can be configured for any download limit. For example, you can choose to limit new music downloads to 20MB per location daily. Any new music downloads over this 20MB limit would be loaded the next time the system communicates.
- Do I have to turn it on and off?
No. Leave the system on at all times. Your AME-2020 system is programmed to start and stop playing music at the times you specify. It has no controls beyond a power switch. Under normal conditions the system is installed in a suitable location and forgotten.
- Do I need to program the music or will AME do it?
You can program the system yourself using the Web-based AME control interface or AME will do it for you. If you want AME to help we will begin by asking you for some specific information about your business and customers. AME will use this information to prepare an audio program specifically suited to your business, clientele and geographic location.
In either case your AME-2020 system will arrive at your location preprogrammed and ready to go. Subsequent changes to your audio programming can be made by you using the Web-based AME control interface or by contacting an AME environmental audio specialist who can make the changes for you.
- Is the AME-2020 complicated to use?
Not at all. The AME-2020 control unit is very simple to install and use. The only control on the system is the power switch. Once the system has been installed, no further operator intervention is needed.
Updates to the programming and content are made using the AME Web site. The interface has been carefully designed to be simple and intuitive to use. Anyone who is comfortable with using a Web browser or Windows software in general will be immediately at home with the AME control interface.
If you prefer not to handle programming and content changes yourself, then AME will assign an environmental audio specialist to handle any updates or changes you request.
- How do I customize my AME-2020 system or change a song/announcement?
One of the most exciting features of the AME technology is the means by which the system is controlled and customized. Using the Internet and an ordinary Web browser, each system can be controlled and programmed from anywhere in the world!
To make changes to your system you will begin by using the Internet to log on to the AME server and access your audio profile. Using the intuitive AME control interface screens you can adjust your audio program and schedule to meet your changing requirements. Your AME-2020 control unit is programmed to communicate with AME at selected intervals. During these communications the control unit will download any programming updates you have previously prepared using the control interface. You can change the frequency of these scheduled communications to coincide with your control requirements. You can also initiate an immediate communication by resetting the AME-2020 control unit.
Keep in mind that the audio profiles you manage using the Web-based AME control interface can be shared by more than one control unit. This allows you to quickly and easily update multiple control units in a single step.
- Can we put our own music on the system?
Yes. Any properly licensed** music can be used on the AME-2020 system. However, the AME-2020 system does not play CD's. Music and audio content is stored as digital files on the hard drive of your AME-2020 system. Each digital audio file is specially prepared and encrypted for use on the AME-2020 system. Your AME-2020 system will only play files that have been carefully prepared by AME so there is no concern that inappropriate content can be accidentally or maliciously introduced. However the process is simple! Send us a CD or email us the desired tracks and AME will process your selections and automatically download them to your system.
**Please contact AME to determine the licensing eligibility of the desired music.
- Can my own announcements or commercials be included?
Yes. Announcements programmed into your system can inform your customers of products and specials in your establishment to help increase sales. The AME-2020 system can be programmed to schedule these revenue-building items with pinpoint accuracy. Your pre-produced audio items can be downloaded to your AME-2020 control unit by AME at no charge, or AME can produce announcements for a small fee.
- How are the music categories blended?
The method for fine-tuning the music blends can start with the selection of the appropriate music categories. These categories are then blended in specific percentages for each day part. The music in each category can be edited and fine tuned as well. Taking the process to its ultimate level involves actually formulating custom categories song-by-song. Certain songs can even be automatically added or deleted based on the time of year or even time of day. The AME-2020 system allows you to turn your most complex music requirement into reality with great ease.
Special types of music, such as holiday music, are also added automatically as needed. It is important to note that AME does not charge any additional fees for extra, special or seasonal music.
- How is my AME-2020 system delivered?
In most cases, your customized AME-2020 system will be shipped directly to your location by ground carrier. When it arrives follow the simple step-by-step instructions in the Installation Guide to locate and install the system correctly. Please remember to retain all packaging so that you can return the system for a replacement in the unlikely event of a problem. If you need assistance with any part of the installation process please call us at (888) AME-5005.
- How is my AME-2020 system installed?
If you have an existing audio speaker system, the AME control unit simply connects into it with an audio output cord. Plug in the power cord, and the network line, and it's ready. It's a plug and play system. If you don't have a sound system, AME can design, install and service both audio and video systems.
- What happens if the system is damaged?
The AME-2020 control unit is designed around the finest components with an expected lifetime of many years under continuous 24/7 use.
The AME data center maintains a constantly updated backup of your AME-2020 system. If a system fails, is destroyed by a fire or even stolen, AME can load a new system with exactly the same programming and deliver it to your site.
If the system fails anytime during the effective period of your music service agreement, AME will repair or replace it at no charge.
Once the replacement system is plugged in, it will begin playing the correct programming automatically.
- How do I get tech support?
Please contact our AME Support Representatives by calling 888-AME-5005.
- How do I get current pricing?
The AME-2020 Digital Music and Marketing System is competitively priced while offering far more flexibility than tapes, CD's or a satellite service. Contact an AME representative with the Sales Contact Form located here Contact Sales on our website or call 888-AME-5005.
- How will I be billed?
Billing can be monthly or quarterly. Discounts are offered for annual and semiannual billing. AME accepts checks, electronic transfers as well as major credit cards.
- My business is seasonal, do I have to pay for the months we're closed?
No. The interactive AME-2020 system can be programmed to operate seasonally. During the months you are closed there will be no charge and your AME-2020 will automatically shut down during these non-business periods and reactivate when needed. This schedule can be changed at any time.