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The Most Heard, Least Known Composers In America
What a long strange trip it’s been.
As you can guess from my last name, I’ve been around Stephen Arnold Music for quite a long time. I’ve often mused that it was quite an eye-opening discovery, around age 8 or 9, to find out that EVERYONE didn’t have a recording studio.
While the business has changed from its humble origins as Stephen Arnold Productions, one thing has remained the same: We’re proud to be an independent and customer service is our lifeblood.
So what exactly does that mean? Aren’t there lots of composers and music houses out there?
Sure, there are many fine composers out there, and many successful music houses. But to have staff including sales, marketing, admin, not to mention our creative team and all the musicians and talent that we count on daily – working alongside full-time employees numbering 15+, Stephen Arnold Music today is a different animal completely.
We’re proud to service over 300 television stations along with some of the largest networks on the planet. Our music helped launch CNN Headline News (now HLN) and recently rebranded CCTV China’s 5 international channels — the largest television network in the world by viewership.
Aside from the detailed creative and production that takes place daily in our studios, there is a heaving database of administration – from contracts to sales to copyrights to registrations to making sure payroll goes out; it’s no small task to keep Stephen Arnold Music humming on a daily basis.
Ask around and you’ll discover what sets us apart: our dedication to customer service, understanding the science AND art of sonic branding, and always putting our clients first (even if adding that saxophone is a bad idea!). Our passion is to make our clients look and sound great; to brand stations, networks, TV shows, and media in a way that’s memorable, innovative and engaging.
Want to know what it means to be #indie? Pick up the phone and give us a call – ask for anyone in the company, from President Stephen Arnold to VP Creative Services Chad Cook all the way down to the mail room and you’ll be put right through. It’s always been that way at Stephen Arnold Music.
Happy Hour is Friday 4pm sharp – stop by, see us and we’ll show you around.
Editor’s Note: For more information on what is means to be #indie, check out Newscast Studios article: http://www.newscaststudio.com/2015/04/16/stephen-arnold-relishes-in-independence/
We’ve had quite an eventful year here at SAM – which we’ll no doubt touch on very soon, so check back here in the coming weeks! But in a year where we saw one of our largest rebranding projects EVER in CCTV International, we just had to get out to Promax Asia, held this year in Singapore!
Stephen Arnold Music was pleased to be a sponsor this year, and if you attended and didn’t pick up one of Stephen’s books – A Story of Six Strings – then be sure to let us know, and we’ll get one shipped out to you.
Our partners in the CCTV rebrand – Flint Skallen – were presenters in the session “A Deep Dive Into The Rebranding of CCTV International”
We’re very pleased to continue our long standing relationship with Promax and look forward to many more international projects!
Working for The World Leader in Sonic Branding™ means I’m well versed in the Pavlovian effect music has on the human brain. Which is a fancy way of saying that as a mega sports fan, I know that when I hear this:
…I’m ready for some Football!
That, of course, is Sonic Branding: Being able to identify something – anything – based only on the music or notes associated with it.
And believe it or not, little 12 year old Mikey Finnegan, already a sports nut, also already knew what Sonic Branding was. So here are 5 examples from my childhood of how my favorite pastime – SPORTS! – intersected with my job of the past 10 years – MUSIC! And even way back in the mid-70’s, without grasping the importance of branded music, I was influenced by it…
ABC’s Wide World of Sports – Charles Fox’s classic music combined with announcer Jim McKay’s famous line “the Thrill of the Victory and the Agony of Defeat” left an indelible impression in my young mind. Whenever I heard the theme, I’d sprint to the TV room to catch the show open and probably a Muhammad Ali boxing match. This is also a great example of how music and other audio elements – like Jim McKay’s voice over – can work in tandem to reinforce a brand and a sonic brand.
ABC’s Monday Night Football – Fox also composed another outrageously popular sports theme of the 70’s, Monday Night Football. And who could forget Howard Cosell’s legendary voice backed by perhaps the most recognizable TV theme song of that era?
This Week In Baseball – As I grew older, I began turning to Basketball; but Baseball was the first sport I was fanatical about, and a show called This Week In Baseball was my all-time favorite. Again, the voice over – this time delivered by Mel Allen – worked perfectly to create the overall sonic brand…but it was this song by John Scott that signified my next hour was spoken for.
Olympics Theme Song – Officially titled”Bugler’s Dream and Olympic Fanfare Medley”, John Williams’ classic sports theme signified power, athleticism and crossed borders and countries.
Wimbledon Championships – This music screams 1970, but it also told me that the greatest tennis tournament was on TV.
As I write, we are in the midst of sports television glory: MLB’s World Series, mid-season NCAA/NFL (how bout them Cowboys!!!), and the start of the season for both the NHL and NBA. In fact this weekend all four will be on the tube at some point. And even if you’re in another room, you’ll know whether its baseball, football, basketball or hockey just by listening to the music. And THAT’S Sonic Branding.
Coming from a country where oil refineries are the bread and butter of life, you wouldn’t be surprised to know that a music career doesn’t sound too appealing to the ears of some parents where I grew up.
That was kind of my case.
I was born and raised in a little town in the north part of Venezuela, on a little peninsula called Paraguana. There are three things you can find out there: beautiful beaches, perfect weather and oil refineries.
I always loved music and I started playing music at a young age and had several bands growing up. But, when it was time to go to college, I didn’t have too many options given the local industry; it was either be an Oil & Gas Engineer, or an Oil & Gas Engineer! I lost my dad at a young age and he was a Mechanical Engineer his whole life, despite never recieving a college degree in it…So I went to college and got a degree in Mechanical Engineering, I knew its what he would have wanted
After six months and a horrible experience working in oil refineries I decided to follow my passion: Music! I came to the U.S. with $100 in my pocket and did not speak English. My best friend from high school was living here already, so I stayed with him; going to community college to learn English and working as a cashier to pay for my school. I went to Dallas Sound Lab, now called Media Tech.
After I finished I thought it was my time to shine. But nobody called; no emails, nothing!! So, Plan B… wait, there wasn’t a Plan B.
Finally I got an interview in Austin, to work in a Recording Studio there. The interview never happened, even though I sat in their lobby waiting for 4 hours AND after driving 3 hours to get there.
I remember that conversation like it was yesterday. Stephen said, “ I would like to bring you in for an interview for a paid internship.” … pause… I thought was a friend of mine making fun of me. I said, “look man, this is not funny, my day is a mess, don’t joke with me right now”… pause… Stephen: “I would like to bring you in for an interview for a paid internship”… pause.. me: “holy crap! So sorry man, sure I will be there!” Wow, I was speechless.
11 years later I still work for Stephen as a Senior Audio Editor and Sound Designer in the Creative Services Department. I have been learning from the best, because I want to be the best. Working at SAM has been a unique experience, learning so much more about the music business than I had ever even dreamt about. The quality of musicians I have the privilege to work with every day and the amazing writers, producers and engineers help me to grow professionally.
Learning the creative process of making music at SAM is such a unique thing, the way we walk step by step with the client to get to know exactly what they have in their mind is just amazing. Following my passion has taken me for a nice ride, and I am still learning. I’ve been doing Sound Design, Mixing, Recording, also I have the chance to do Live Sound and even working on Movie Sets as a freelancer. And of course I still get a band together when I can…. Gonzo City may have played its last gig in Ft Worth, but here’s a picture of the guys!
I guess the phrase “Follow Your Passion” worked perfect for me. A wise man told me once, “Find what you love to do and then find the way to get paid doing it”. Music is such of big part of everything, and learning how to be good at it has opened a lot of doors in my career; and it is because of working at a place like SAM that I am where I am in my professional career.