Stephen Arnold Music

The Most Heard, Least Known Composers In America

Tag Archives: Sonic Branding

PromaxBDA: NYC and Station Summit …. Done!

Sometimes being the “new kid on the block” has its perks! Especially when it means joining the Stephen Arnold Music team just in time for their Promax conferences in NYC and Las Vegas!

PromaxDBA: The Conference in New York was the beginning of a whole new world for me. So much to soak up, in so little time! Amidst all the hustle and meeting new clients, I was able to sit in on Stephen and Chad leading a session featuring the huge project of rebranding CCTV China’s foreign language channels. Completely blew my mind. It was so fun sitting next to a couple of guys from ESPN and getting to say “Isn’t that awesome?? They did all of our custom music!” I was beaming with pride just being a part of SAM and everything that it implies.

It was also great getting to meet some of our partners at The Brand Gallery — what a cool group they are! I am super excited to work closely with them on upcoming projects. It honestly felt like going to meet extended family at Thanksgiving — I could quickly tell that these guys love SAM, and we love them. They are OUR extended family here, and couldn’t be happier about that.

Overall, just the energy of Promax NY was exhilarating and left me wanting more. I was ready for round #2 in Vegas for sure!

And oh how Vegas did NOT disappoint! The Station Summit was a full 5 days of meeting clients and hosting happy hours in our SAM suite. We couldn’t go out without a bang of course … the annual SAM party jam session was a little “too rowdy” for the Mirage, and security shut us down just after 11pm! It’s apparent that SAM likes to have fun, y’all!

The best part about the TONS of new people that I met, they all had one thing in common: Raving fans of Stephen Arnold Music. They all went on and on about how great it is to work with SAM, how the music is incomparable to anything else they’ve heard, how much they love the people at SAM they get to work with … just kept going! Again, beaming with pride that I get the opportunity to be a part of a worthwhile company like SAM. It’s not every day that a stranger riding up the elevator with you looks at your badge and says, “Aren’t you lucky?! You get to work for Stephen Arnold Music!” The reputation that we have is incredible. Easily the coolest thing about getting to attend these conferences as the “newbie”— feeling like I was getting to tag along with ROCKSTARS! Everyone knows SAM!

I’m over the moon excited to join the Stephen Arnold Music team and can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get to work!


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Promax Preview…..SAM style!

Happy Monday everyone!

It’s another gorgeous Spring day here in New York and, after lounging in Central Park most of the weekend, I’m so thankful that I won’t have to leave the city for this year’s PromaxDBA: The Conference!

Stephen, Chad, and Lyndsey will all be joining me in NYC for the June 10-12th conference. I moseyed over to the Hilton Midtown last week to check out the venue, and I think we’re going to have another great convergence of creative geniuses!  And, if you haven’t heard, Stephen and Chad will be giving conference-goers the inside scoop in a session featuring the rebrand and relaunch of CCTV China’s foreign language channels.  Stop by the Mercury Room on Thursday at 3:45. Hope everyone’s able to check it out! #WTFuture

Win this Tom Petty Signed Strat!!

Win this Tom Petty Signed Strat!!

And if local creative is your game, keep pushing until the end of May book on Wednesday! Then give us a shout if you’d like to meet up in Vegas! This year we’ll be taking over The Mirage the last week of June for the PromaxBDA Station Summit. And yes, the wrap party Thursday night is a go. Feel free to send us a note to make sure you’re on the invite list and get all the official details.

Whether we’re seeing you in Vegas or NYC be sure to stop by, say hello, and drop your business card in for our drawing for a Tom Petty signed Road Worn Fender Stratocaster!

On a personal note – is it inappropriate to take a baby to Vegas? Nah, didn’t think so. Baby Alanis will be joining us at the roulette table. That’s his game. #STATIONSUMMIT

Baby Alanis on a roll....

Baby Alanis on a roll….

And the winner is …

Very happy to announce the winner of our Dean Resonator giveaway, which we drew for today!

Congrats to Dave Shelly of KFSM-TV in Fort Smith!

Thanks to everyone for all of your great comments and feedback on Canvas, This Is The Place, All About Early and iNergy!

And definitely stay tuned for information on our next drawing.

Until next time!!

The Legend Lives On…

Four years ago this week Les Paul died at the ripe old age of 94.  It was truly the passing of a legend.  And whether you were born in 1920 or the year 2000, he’s profoundly affected your life, and you might not even know it!

Les continued to perform well into his 90s

Les continued to perform well into his 90s

As a performer and musician, his TV and radio program “The Les Paul & Mary Show” was syndicated into millions of households and made him a star.  Between 1945 and 1955 he notched over 20 top 10 hit songs, including 3 number ones.  His lightning fast guitar licks influenced a generation of rockers, from the Beatles to Billy Gibbons.   Steve Miller actually learned guitar from Les.

And while his influence as a musician is solid, it’s his innovations in how people heard his music that still affects us today.

Les Paul & Mary Ford using some of Les's earliest recording equipment.  They would set up in hotels as they toured the country

Les Paul & Mary Ford using some of Les’s earliest recording equipment. They would set up in hotels as they toured the country

Les didn’t actually invent the solid body electric guitar – Rickenbacker beat him by 8 years in 1932 – but his designs and innovations were integral in the evolution and popularization of it.  The iconic guitar that bears his name – The Gibson Les Paul – was famously played by the likes of Neil Young, Slash, Jimmy Page, Duane Allman and Bob Marley, to name but a few.

His early recordings were the first to utilize Sound on Sound and Multi-track recording, and he’s credited with the development of overdubbing, close-micing, and tape delay & phasing as effects on his recordings.  He essentially created and developed modern recording techniques (take THAT pro-tools!)

TInkering with a more advanced recording console

Tinkering with a more advanced recording console

In an age where digital recording hardware and synthesized sounds can be bought for a few hundred bucks, the idea that a young man would tear apart his folks’ radio, or mount magnetic rods into guitars, or fill a guitar with plaster-of-Paris to stop vibrations; to actually create his own disc cutter assembly from used car parts (his original experiments with Sound on Sound recordings used acetate discs rather than magnetic tape) all in the quest to create or record or amplify his music is literally extraordinary.

So next time you’re tuning up your new axe or listening to the latest top 40 radio hit, take a moment to remember Les Paul.

He was a true renaissance man, and the world is quite a bit louder – and better sounding – thanks to him.

Breaking News!! SAM to partner with PGM Artists!!

SAM_PGMWe have a new partnership that we want to tell you about: Stephen Arnold Music and PGM Artists are now collaborating on select original music and sonic branding projects for the advertising sector.

PGM Artists is a high-level “matchmaker” that draws companies together from across a broad range of complementary disciplines. The firm was founded by marketing and production veteran Phil McIntyre, and they excel at connecting advertising agencies and corporations worldwide to creative and marketing resources, with the goal of enabling them to innovate, communicate and compete at the highest possible level.

There were a lot of great reasons to start working with PGM Artists. We think it’s a creative, forward-thinking company that really understands branding. And our commitment to creating memorable sonic branding is a perfect fit for the advertising world, which is where PGM Artists have proven they’re particularly effective.

It’s a highly accomplished firm with an elite track record – that’s the kind of company we like to keep.

Trendy Headphones and Rockin Ad Music!!

Releasing an awesome ad-friendly catalog makes you want to…  jump! jump! no, wait……give away some headphones!

You’ll need some of these trendy LSTN headphones while you’re listening to Song Zu’s The :30 Spot – Music for Advertising.  Even Dave Grohl loves em and heck, he’s probably listening to Song Zu…..

Stay tuned as this is the first of a 10+ volume collection and don’t forget to click in to win!  Drawing takes place this Friday, June 7th!

And, of course, you can register to listen to all 7 of our ready to license catalogs here – go hear!

Dave Grohl Loves LSTN Headphones

Super (Bowl) Sonic Branding

It’s not just music they’re playing on those Super Bowl ads – the smart sponsors are applying Sonic Branding.

Sonic Branding done right reinforces memory recall and the message, and connects products and services with emotions. Combine story, visuals, and sound in an appealing alchemy – especially during the Super Bowl – and you’ve got a spot that everyone will be talking about at the water cooler for weeks. Later on, they’re revisiting it on YouTube.

It’s the reason that the aural jigsaw puzzle of three frogs croaking “Bud…Weis…Er” still stands out years later, as does “Have a Coke and a Smile” and Mean Joe Greene 33 years removed from its first airing, as well as the use of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” by Budweiser in the latest Super Bowl.

Stephen Arnold Music has assembled an all-time list of the Super Bowl spots that best used music and sound to their advantage, over the years. Ladies and gentlemen, drum roll please — we present the Super Sonics:

1) Coca Cola — Super Bowl XIII, 1979

Mean Joe Greene accepts a cool bottle from a kid, “Have a Coke and a Smile” kicks in, and Super Bowl sonic branding history was made forever. The positive associations from this ad endured for generations, as evidenced by the 2009 Super Bowl XLIII remake for Coke Zero featuring Troy Polamalu.

2) Chrysler — Super Bowl XLV, 2011

The darkly tense hip hop track captured the soul of the city, and perfectly reflected the spot’s visual imagery. This emotion-stirring “Imported from Detroit” commercial starring local artist Eminem inspired people to talk about Detroit — and Chrysler by extension.

3) Budweiser – Super Bowl, XXIV, 1995

Talk about a watercooler classic – the three frogs croaking “Bud…” “Weis…” “Er” strongly associated an innovative sound design with this iconic American brand. It was funny, and gave the world something they could gladly croak along to.

4) Volkswagen — Super Bowl XLV, 2011

A pint-sized Darth Vader used the Force when he discovered the all-new 2012 Volkswagen Passat in the driveway. The essential use of John Williams’ classic motif from the Star Wars franchise is a huge part of why this ad remains strong in people’s minds, two years later.

5) Budweiser – Super Bowl XLVII, 2013

The mega-brewer returns with “Brotherhood”, the tale of a trainer reunited with a beloved Clydesdale. Fleetwood Mac’s emotional “Landslide” was the perfect backing track – it’s oft-covered status makes it a song choice that spans time. Will people think of Budweiser now when they hear it on the air? We’re betting yes.

6) Coke – Super Bowl XXIV, 1990

Not surprising that brand messaging masters like Coke make these Super Bowl ad lists multiple times. Here, the famed “I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke” theme is in full swing in a follow-up to the original commercial, called “Hilltop Reunion”, aired during coverage of Super Bowl XXIV featuring the singers and their children, and culminating in a medley of this song and the then-current “Can’t Beat the Real Thing” jingle. “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” has had a lasting connection with the viewing public. Advertising surveys consistently identify it as one of the best commercials of all time, and the sheet music continues to sell more than thirty years after the song was written.

7) Pepsi – Super Bowl XXIX, 1995

This spot, starring a kid sucking on a straw who launches himself straight into a Pepsi bottle, captures honors for its adventurous use of sound. In our humble opinions, the bold sound design is the true star here.

8) Old Milwaukee — Super Bowl XLVI, 2012

Already larger than life, Will Farrell expands still more into our universe with this grand vision. His heroic stroll through a field of hops takes on magnificent grandeur courtesy of the classical symphonic score that accompanies it. Intentionally jarring sound at the end provides an interesting counterpoint to everything that preceded it – part of a sound (and video) combo that makes this spot memorable.

9) Budweiser – Super Bowl XXXVI, 2002 Budweiser 9/11

Here is the famous commercial Budweiser produced after 9/11. They aired it only once — during Super Bowl XXXVI in February 2002. This one-minute spot features the beer company’s trademarked team of Clydesdale horses trudging across snow-covered ground into New York City where they stop to gaze upon the Statue of Liberty and the city’s skyline before lowering their heads on bended knees in a gesture of respect. Music and images drive the whole commercial – everything is very emotive, thanks to the simplicity of this moving tribute and the music.

10) Noxzema – Super Bowl VII, 1973

Joe Namath — and a jingle for the ages — stars here. “Let Noxzema cream your face, so the razor don’t!” is belted out by an unknown session singer, with massive levels of mucho gusto. We dare you to forget this jingle anytime soon. No, wait, we DOUBLE DOG DARE you. Some rockin’ funk makes this the grooviest shaving cream commercial in broadcast history. Meanwhile, onscreen, don’t miss the Most Obvious Lip Synch Ever Seen.

We continue to scrutinize the archives. Stay tuned, because we’ll add some more Super Sonics soon!

This Is The Place … For a Guitar Giveaway

UPDATE:  We have our winner!!

It’s time once again to give away one of Stephen’s guitars.  We’re doing something a little different this time, though.  The winner gets to pick their guitar from these three great axes.

Guitar Selection

Fender Squire Telecaster – Brown … Fender Telecaster – Sunburst … Fender Squire Vintage Modified Mustang – Red

The rules are simple:

  1. Leave a comment below, telling us what you think of the “This Is The Place” Audio/Video Image Campaign.
  2. We will print out all the comments on Friday, February 1st 2013 and draw a name.
  3. That person will be contacted and will get to pick a guitar.

And that’s all there is to it.

Click here for contest rules and eligibility requirements

Read more about it on Shoot Online

Stephen Arnold Music Recharges ‘Showbiz Tonight’ on HLN With Bold New Music

Stephen Arnold Music - HLN Showbiz TonightSonic Branding Leaders Update Their Long-Running Show Package with Dubstep, Dance, and Indie Rock-Style Arrangements

Updating one of the top daily entertainment shows on TV can be a daunting challenge. HLN’s long-running program “Showbiz Tonight” stayed with the sonic branding of Stephen Arnold Music for their makeover, turning once again to the original music creators that helped launch the show in 2005.

The composers at Stephen Arnold Music wrote five new arrangements to match up with a fresh graphics package and set for “Showbiz Tonight,” which is hosted by A.J. Hammer, from the network’s New York City studios. Built around the memorable four-note hook that Stephen Arnold Music first wrote for the show seven years ago, the bold new package incorporates a range of dubstep, dance, electronic and indie rock themes.

“A common thread of long-running daily entertainment shows is an unforgettable melodic theme,” Stephen Arnold, President of Stephen Arnold Music says. “A strong musical signature is essential to pop-culture based programs, and the lasting power of our sonic brand for ‘Showbiz Tonight’ reflects that. The new music package builds on the original hook, evolving it within modern styles to keep it catchy and current.”

Depending on the genre, Stephen Arnold Music employed everything from filtered loops and programmed beats, to live guitars and drums to drive the energetic new themes. In addition to the primary arrangements, Stephen Arnold Music also provided HLN with a large supply of long beds, short logo stingers, and other transitional elements. Culled from moments in the longer themes, the shorter elements sync up with the “Showbiz Tonight” sonic stamp, providing the show’s producers with a flexible toolkit to match their fast-moving graphics.

The “Showbiz Tonight” update was the latest in a long string of collaborations between Stephen Arnold Music and CNN/HLN. Other recent projects that the Dallas-based music company has created for the networks includes “Jane Velez-Mitchell,” “Dr. Drew,” and “Morning Express with Robin Meade.”

For Stephen Arnold Music, recharging the sound of “Showbiz Tonight” was a welcome opportunity to go deeper with the music they make.

“A project like this gives you the chance to explore all the different angles of a sonic brand,” Chad Cook, VP/Creative Director of Stephen Arnold Music says. “These new themes are a natural progression for an established show. They provide a fresh direction, while maintaining a familiar connection with its dedicated audience.”

Promo Credits
Client: HLN/Showbiz Tonight
Project: “Showbiz Tonight” music package
Music: Stephen Arnold Music, Dallas

About Stephen Arnold Music
As a multiple Emmy, Addy and Promax Gold award-winning music production company, Stephen Arnold Music has over 20 years of success in delivering the sounds that make a difference to networks, television stations, advertising agencies, film studios and video game companies the world over. The company’s Commanding Sonic Branding approach to music production and commitment to industry-leading service is at the core of its promise. For more information, please visit


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