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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

How will my business benefit from having an AME-2020 system?
 
What effect does audio have on my customers?
 
What's wrong with just playing a radio in my business?

Who is AME?
 
What is the AME-2020 Digital Music and Marketing System?
 
What separates AME from the competition?
 
How is the AME-2020 system different from a satellite service?
 
AME competitors have the same computer-based delivery systems, right?
 
Can AME provide different music to different areas in my business?
 
Does AME have Music-On-Hold?
 
How many different kind of music does AME have to choose from?
 
I need a very customized music blend style. Can AME help?

How does the system work?
 
Do I need to provide a computer?
 
How does AME use the Internet?
 
Do I need a dedicated phone line?
 
Is the system going to slow my network or tie up my phone line all night? How much bandwidth does the AME-2020 use?
 
Do I have to turn it on and off?
 
Is the AME-2020 system complicated to use?
 
Do I need to program the music or can AME do it?
 
How do I customize my AME-2020 system or change a song or announcement?
 
Can we put our own music on the system?
 
Can my own announcements or commercials be included on the system?
 
How are the music categories blended?

How is my AME-2020 system delivered?
 
How is the AME-2020 system installed?
 
What happens if the system fails?
 
How do I get tech support from AME?

How do I get current pricing for my business?
 
How will I be billed for the service?
 
My business is not yet open year round. Do I have to pay for the months we're not open?
 
Can hardware be financed?

 
Q: How will my business benefit from having and AME-2020 system?
 
A: 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.
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Q: What effect does audio have on my customers?
 
A: 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.

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Q: What's wrong with just playing a radio in my business?
 
A: Although radio is "free" and easy to use, it can often does 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.

And 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!

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Q: Who is AME?
 
A: American Music Environments (AME) is a new development in background music technology - a system so unique it's patented. (U.S. Patent #5,726,909) AME provides highly customized environmental music to businesses of all kinds with the AME-2020 Digital Music and Marketing System, allowing customers to hear specific music selections and advertising messages.

Surround your customers with an audio environment specifically designed for your business. Don't settle for reduced sound quality when you can possess the crystal-clear sound of the advanced AME-2020 played in full digital stereo with the latest digital audio technology.

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Q: What is the AME-2020 Digital Music and Marketing System?
 
A: Simply put, the AME-2020 Digital Music and Marketing System is a computer-based audio delivery system that stores and plays digital audio 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 of the Internet to give businesses the unique ability to take control of their audio environment. The AME-2020 control unit is capable of storing in excess of 25,000 songs in addition to hundreds of announcements and other audio items. At last, only your imagination can limit the possibilities of audio-based brand support and merchandising efforts.

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Q: What separates AME from the competition?
 
A: AME is the newest development in business music technology. Only AME use the power of the Internet to give you interactive control over your business music. 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.

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Q: How is the AME-2020 system different from a satellite service?
 
A: AME does not use the model of "channels" in the selection and delivery of audio content. The AME-2020 system is programmed specifically for each and every location by blending music categories together and scheduling them into day parts for each weekday. Since the music 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 audio environment. Furthermore, the schedules can be programmed in advance to adjust your audio 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 music 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 songs 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.

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Q: AME competitors have the same computer-based music delivery systems, right?
 
A: 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 audio 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 an audio 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 all 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 up to eight, completely independent audio programs from the same box! A restaurant could play one program of music in the dining area while a different program is aired in the bar! Take a third program stream, connect it to the audio input on your phone system and use it for the most sophisticated, controllable music on hold system available today. 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 one Internet or telephone connection.

The AME-2020 system features the most advanced control interface available. Using the power of the Internet you can access your systems audio profile from anywhere you have Internet access! If 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.

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Q: Can AME provide different music to different areas in by business?
 
A: Absolutely. Our unique audio hardware allows you to play up to 8 completely independent programs (called zones) of audio from a single AME-2020 system. For example, a department store could play Top 40 in the young men and junior areas, Light Jazz in the ladies evening wear section and Easy Listening in the restaurant. Connect the AME-2020 control unit to the audio input of your telephone system and use another 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.

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Q: Does AME have Music-On-Hold?
 
A: 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 two completely independent (configurable up to 8) audio 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.
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Q: How many different kinds of music does AME have to choose from?
 
A: AME's parent company is Radio Programming and Management, Inc. (RPM). RPM has been providing music, programming, and consultation to commercial radios 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.
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Q: I need a very customized music blend and style. Can AME help?
 
A: 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.

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Q: How does the system work?
 
A: 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 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 hard disk 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 Internet connection CD/DVD updates are never needed. If using dial-up, when necessary, very large updates will be delivered on CD or DVD. For example, if you decided to add an entirely new category of music to your system this would necessitate the delivery of potentially hundreds of new music files. In this case dialup limitations would make delivery of this volume of music material impractical.

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Q: Do I need to provide a computer?
 
A: 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.

However, if you want to make programming and content changes to your system then you need access to our Web site. Typically this will involve the use of a separate computer equipped with Internet access. This separate computer system is not supplied by AME. If preferred you can contact AME by telephone and an audio environment specialist will make the updates for you.

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Q: How does AME use the Internet?
 
A: Your AME-2020 system requires access to a network Internet connection or telephone line in order to communicate with AME using the Internet. 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 audio content in an absolutely seamless manner. Your system keeps playing even while it is being updated!

AME will endeavor to use the Internet to deliver software upgrades, programming changes and new audio content wherever possible. If you provide a network Internet connection, CD/DVD updates can be eliminated entirely. However, due to dialup restrictions, it is sometimes impractical to deliver very large updates using standard dial-up connections. This situation is most likely to occur when a large number of new music files have been requested such as when an entirely new category of music is being added to the system. In these cases AME may send a CD or DVD containing the update. Just place the update disc in the DVD ROM drawer and your system will update automatically.

 
Q: Do I need a dedicated phone line?
 
A: No. To enable the seamless delivery of software upgrades, programming updates and new audio content, your AME-2020 control unit must have access to a network Internet connection or telephone line. However, the network Internet connection or telephone line need not be dedicated to the AME-2020 control unit. The AME-2020 could share a line with other devices such as your fax machine or credit card authorization system. The AME-2020 uses efficient communication software, normal Internet or phone line daily usage is about one minute. The AME-2020 control unit can even be instructed to restrict its use of the telephone line to specific times during the day or night so as to completely avoid interference with other devices.
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Q: Is the system going to slow my network or tie up my phone line all night? How much bandwidth does the AME-2020 use?
 
A: No. The system uses efficient proprietary communication and compression software to communicate with AME resulting in minimal bandwidth usage.

The system uses two types of communication methods that vary accordingly, here is an overview of each:

Dial-Up

  • Uses a normal analog phone line.
  • Normal daily communication size is less then 200 KB.
  • Average daily phone line usage is 1-2 minutes.
  • You can specify a daily time window that determines when the system will try to communicate. Example: You choose 3AM to 5AM to ensure the system doesn't use the phone line when the location is conducting business.

Dial-Up New Music Downloads:

  • When you add new music to the system using the online AME web interface it is downloaded to the system one time.
  • New music that is added to the system is limited to a 10MB limit for Dial-Up Systems.
  • Any updates that contain more than this 10MB limit would be printed to a CD/DVD and shipped via USPS to the location.

Network Connection

  • Uses a network connection to the Internet.
  • Normal daily communication size is less then 200 KB.
  • Average daily network usage is under 30 seconds.
  • You can specify a daily time window that determines when the system will try to communicate. Example: You choose 3AM to 5AM to ensure the system doesn't use the network when the location is conducting business.

Network Connection New 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. Example: You choose to limit new music downloads to 20MB per location daily. Any new music downloads over this 20MB limit would be printed to a CD/DVD and shipped to the location via USPS.
  • You can also specify a unlimited music download limit and eliminate CDs and DVDs entirely!
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Q: Do I have to turn it on and off?
 
A: 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, reset button and a button to open/close the DVD drawer. Under normal conditions the system should be installed in a suitable location and forgotten.
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Q: Is the AME-2020 system complicated to use?
 
A: Not at all. The AME-2020 control unit is very simple to install and use. The only controls on the system are the power switch, a reset button and a button to open/close the DVD drawer. 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 you request.

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Q: Do I need to program the music or can AME do it?
 
A: Either way. 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.

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Q: How do I customize my AME-2020 system or change a song or announcement?
 
A: 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 frequent 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.

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Q: Can we put our own music on the system?
 
A: 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. What could be easier? We'll even return your original CD.

**Please contact AME first to determine the licensing eligibility of the desired music.
 
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Q: Can my own announcements or commercials be included on the system?
 
A: 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.
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Q: How are the music categories blended?
 
A: 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.

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Q: How is my AME-2020 system delivered?
 
A: 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 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.
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Q: How is the AME-2020 system installed?
 
A: If you have an audio system, the AME control unit simply connects into it with an audio output cord. Plug in the power cord, and the phone line, and it's ready. It's a plug and play system. If you don't have a sound system, AME can refer you to a qualified installer in your area.
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Q: What happens if the system fails?
 
A: 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 first year, AME will repair or replace it at no charge. After the initial one year warranty has expired, replacement/repair cost is subject to the actual cost of repairs plus shipping charges.

Once the replacement system is plugged in, it will begin playing the correct programming automatically.

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Q: How do I get tech support from AME?
 
A: Please contact our AME Support Representatives via our Web Support Request. We promise to respond within 24 business hours to all requests. Our Support Staff can take care of all of your needs even as changes take place in your audio program and software over time.
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Q: How do I get current pricing for my business?
 
A: 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 on our website.
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Q: How will I be billed for the service?
 
A: The initial payment is 3 months in advance plus one-month security deposit and the cost of your AME-2020 control unit. Ongoing billing is quarterly in advance and can be paid by check or credit card.
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Q: My business is not open year round. Do I have to pay for the months we're not open?
 
A: 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.
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Q: Can hardware be financed?
 
A: Under some conditions the monthly service rate can be adjusted to include part or all of the cost of the AME-2020 control unit. Contact your AME sales representative for details.
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