Chipotle tries really hard to create an "aural experience" for you

Music programming at the fast food burrito chain is all about "texture of sound"

By Prachi Gupta
Published July 11, 2013 9:38PM (EDT)

Have you ever wondered about the music you hear at your local Chipotle? No? Well, a recent article in Denver magazine Westword does, and it turns out that the musical stylings of all 1,400 fast food burrito restaurants are under the control of one man: a DJ named Christopher Golub. The next time you are hurriedly eating a burrito jamming out at Chipotle, please consider the following:

All the music is curated according to the "texture of sound," says Golub:

"You know that if you go into a store, you've got the small, hard surfaces. You've got concrete floors, a lot of windows, hard walls and a lot of cooking gear and tile. So that doesn't work with certain songs."

This means you'll have to lay off Radiohead during your epicurean experience, Westword explains, and settle for some Peter Tosh -- or better yet, something esoteric and effortlessly cool. Says Golub:

"We're not playing the big hits of the world at all. We're trying to find emerging stars. Emerging artists have this certain feel to their music."

And every song will turn stale within a month. That is how hip Chipotle is:

An average playlist Golub puts together may have more than 500 songs and be in rotation for no more than a month, to keep the song selection fresh.

This is so that everyone around the world can get the same "aural experience":

"So when you have a burrito in Iowa, or Paris, France, or London, England, or Canada, you're hearing the same program and the same vibe." As with Chipotle's menu, everyone everywhere gets the same aural experience.

With your appetite whetted and your body a slave to the beat, don't forget to Instagram your burrito and Shazam the hell out of Chipotle's music before you leave:

"One of the greatest joys," [Golub] says, "is when we see someone lifting up a cell phone and Shazam-ing a song, or just singing along to a song."

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at

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