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Audio Branding

More New Production Music…

….is available from shockwave-sound.com! There are 20 tracks up there as of right now, and all are exclusive to that site. Be sure to check them out if you’re looking for some music for your production!

Of Shazam and Credibility

I read a very interesting interview (which I found thanks to John Presley at musiccomposerblog.com) with Ryan Fitch, an accomplished music supervisor at a seemingly large advertising agency. In addition to giving some great links and advice, he also spoke a lot about the appeal of using licensed music almost to how I’d hear an A&R rep talk about their job. In his experience, because there is just so much music that’s already created and therefore able to be licensed, the situation that requires something original from a composer doesn’t present itself nearly as much as it used to. Sigh.

The Best Cinematic and Motivational Royalty Free Audio

Most interesting to me was a recent campaign he was involved with in which he professes to have spent hours trying to shoehorn a licensed track into a commercial, and could only successfully do so after cleverly disguising an odd time signature with sound design. After watching the commercial, I was really confused about why the track in question absolutely had to be “the one”. The music itself is a pretty nondescript repetition of a single phrase with minimal vocals, slightly modified towards the end. The song apparently didn’t naturally work, and had to be modified considerably, thus taking the time that licensed music was supposed to save. In other words, this was an easily replicable piece a qualified composer would have no problem scoring to the existing footage in a few hours. Why they didn’t go this route didn’t make sense to me. There must be something else at work here. That’s when I saw the Shazam logo.

I figured there was no better way to understand their angle than by “Shazamming” the commercial and seeing the results for myself.  After dow

nloading the app (and skipping Shazam’s many attempts to get up in my bidness), I played the commercial. To my surprise, the only thing I discovered about the song itself  was the artist and title. No link to listen to it, no link to buy it, no link to the artist’s website. Nada. There was, however, a contest I could enter in addition to other links I could follow to product related social marketing.

Get Royalty Free Music from ProgressNotesLet me state that I do not see any issue at all here with the way the music was used in this advertisement. Consent was obviously given, and I’m sure everything was above board. I do, however, understand why some artists seem to be apprehensive about licensing their music to advertising campaigns. In addition to the all-important credibility the song adds to the product, the sound of of the music itself is now tied to the product in a way that almost supersedes that simple association licensed music usually provides. The notes the artist wrote on their guitar, in this particular case, now directly link to a product they didn’t create. That’s pretty heavy.

The interview reinforced, but also shed some new light on, my view regarding why ad agencies so actively license music as opposed to having something original tailored specifically for their campaign. It’s not just credibility they’re after, but an additional way of presenting the consumer with their product. This opens up new avenues while also creating new dilemmas for the artist, some of which I’ve witnessed first hand. Ultimately, it’s good to see the power of music taken seriously, and hopefully that aspect won’t change in a constantly changing industry.

 

Audio Branding: What Does Your Company Sound Like?

Let me guess…you spent a lot of money on a snazzy logo for your brand. You hired a great designer to make your website. You invested a good chunk of cash in gear to produce your commercials, podcasts and/or web videos. Maybe you’ve even made some branded clothing. But what does your brand sound like?

Audio branding is not a new technique by any means. We’ve all been subjected to this type of marketing for years. Theme music for a particular television program or network is a given. But even simpler than that is their brand’s audio logo or indent. To me, the most obvious is the NBC Chimes, which have quite a history. Despite their hip new ad campaigns, the main thing that sticks with me after a State Farm commercial is their tried-and-true 4 second audio logo (apparently derived from a theme song of year’s past). Too musical for you? Try HBO’s audio logo.

Just because your brand isn’t quite ready for primetime television ads doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore audio branding. The Audio Branding Academy asserts that  ” the emerging of new media…expands the opportunities for audio branding”.  This includes everything from podcasts , YouTube videos, iPhone and Android apps, to independent video games. As this article from the Music Composer BLOG explains, “brands are just beginning to understand the benefits of a marketing strategy that includes strategy-driven audio“, and these include big names that advertise on television.

How often does your logo appear in some form of non-static visual media? If your website or company produces a lot of video content, and/or your logo is featured at the beginning of mobile phone apps or games, an audio logo is a necessity. The successful incorporation of sound in defining your brand is not just for huge companies anymore, and it’s a lot easier than you’d think. Just ask your friendly neighborhood composer.

What are some of your favorite audio logos, indents, or themes? Which ones bring you to a certain time or place whenever you hear them?