How is music selected?
Smith's team visits the bar/restaurant and talks with the brand about "how they position themselves from a PR standpoint". They might even look at the menu. They go deep. After taking in all that info, they go through a "sonic identity process" to find what's unique about the bar or restaurant, and possibly if Detlef Schrempf has ever eaten there, then a team of curators (including musicians and music bloggers) pick a "core sound".
What's a "core sound"?
It's not necessarily just finding one artist, genre, or era of music to play. It's how those three all combine to create a "unique feel and special sound" that's a restaurant or bar's own. For example, when they program music for all five Michael Mina's Bourbon Steak locations (LA, SF, DC, AZ, and Miami), they want people to feel like it's "not their granddaddy's steakhouse". Because that guy is old and no fun, and he always hugs your girlfriend until it gets uncomfortable. So, at Bourbon Steak, you'll be bathed in the sexy, raw sounds of Howlin' Wolf, The Black Keys, and Gary Clark, Jr.