Stephen Arnold Music

The Most Heard, Least Known Composers In America

Tag Archives: Sonic Branding

A Look Behind The Curtain – Creating “Guardian”

We are really excited about our latest news music branding package “Guardian”.  I was recently interviewed by NewscastStudio for a “behind the scenes” look at the new package and details about its creation and development.  There is a great deal of thought that goes into producing branded music for media.  Much more than just creating “cool” music, one must consider the brand objective, how it will live in various media environments, the target demographic, the context of how it will coexist with both content use and promotions, and both the art and science that go into creating a distinctive set of notes that will anchor a comprehensive, sonically-branded music toolkit.

String session for "Guardian" with Paul West, Chad Cook, and Mack Price

String session for “Guardian” with Paul West, Chad Cook, and Mack Price

I thought it would be interesting to share an excerpt from that article and interview:

Stephen Arnold Music recently developed a syndicated news music package that’s already debuted in five local markets, including WSB-TV and KIRO-TV. The package came about from a search for a fresh sound and production style that was more cinematic.  We recently had a chance to speak with Chad Cook, the VP of creative services at Stephen Arnold Music, about the package…

How did you find the style?

In recent years, we have been creating more and more sonic brands and custom music packages for international networks and channels – CCTV China, CNN International, Al Jazeera to name a few. Some of our international news music packages have been very percussion and texture based – more in the style of a modern, cinematic soundtrack for news programming.  So we drew upon some of these different production techniques as a base for creating this new package.

How would you describe the package and its sonic brand?

Historically, many news music packages have been all about being “big”, “loud”, “fast”, and “high-impact” – where you are pounding on your chest and almost yelling your presence to the viewer. With this package we wanted the impact to be more emotional and intelligent. The tone of this package is confident and empowered, and in-depth. There is a boldness to the package and musical signature, but it is achieved more through mood and textures than conventional musical methods.

The sonic logo/musical signature is very distinctive and memorable. We wanted this sonic logo to be very natural and musical to the ear – a simple melodic riff that you could easily play on a guitar or keyboard. Often times, news branding melodies use intervals, voicings, and harmonies that are more conducive to an orchestra or brass section.

We feel the sonic logo and musical style for this package is very contemporary, accessible, and relatable to a wide demographic – whether Baby Boomers, Generation X, and even Millennials. Not only is the production style very modern, but it’s very clean and uncluttered. It has a sound and feel that fits hand in glove with digital media sonic support and applications.

Why do you think the music has already seen such high pickup?

We are so excited that the package has already been picked up in several markets. I think that the unique sound and distinctive sonic brand of this package is really resonating with some stations that have been looking for a fresh approach to music for news content and promotion.  I feel like this is not your standard “news” package but more of a modern soundtrack for news with a clean, textural approach that is very digital content friendly as well.

You can check out the full interview here:

Guardian String Session

Guardian String Session

And here is a montage of the finished “Guardian” package:

SAM’s Journey to the Far East!

We’re very proud of our international work for networks like Al Jazeera (Qatar), Alhurra (Middle East), India TV, GSP Sports (Romania), TRK (Norway), TRT1 (Turkey) … it’s a pretty long list!

A decade ago, we delivered music via FedEx – now we can FTP our latest mixes instantaneously.  But in either case, we’re usually tracking and mixing in our Texas studio while our clients are a VERY long way away.

Sometimes, though, we have the opportunity to pitch, present, or deliver in person – such as when we helped launch Al Watan in Kuwait or our recent re-branding of the 5 CCTV China foreign language channels.  And whether that’s a trip to the Middle East or to Beijing, it’s always exciting to be able to experience different cultures first hand!

Well, right now IS one of those “sometimes”, and I’m currently in the beautiful Balinese mountains in a town called Ubud.  Earlier this week, Stephen and I were speakers at Promax Asia in Singapore giving a talk on the power of Sonic Branding.

 

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The presentation was fantastic!  And we even got to say hello to some old friends … friends like Stefan from Flint/Skallen – who we worked the CCTV project with – and Ian from Song Zu – whose music we license via our production music library The Vault.

Of course, 3 days in Singapore for a conference really isn’t the best use of all those hours on a plane to get here … so Stephen and I brought our better halves and hopped over to Bali, Indonesia!

Don’t worry, Stephen Arnold Music is still open for business, so feel free to give our staff back in Texas a call!

Name That News Package – Guitar Giveaway!

UPDATE:  And The Winner Is …

Hey, you. Wanna win a guitar? We’ve got two chances for you to win!

Name That News Package

Based on Stevie Ray Vaughan’s favorite guitar, the SRV Strat is made for Texas Blues, with the same features as his “Number One”. Featuring three Texas Special single coil pickups, similar to the original 1959 pickups.

Straight from Stephen’s collection – a 15 year old, slightly abused 2000 Fender Artist Series Stevie Ray Vaughan Stratocaster could be all yours. To enter, just listen to the demo of our latest news music package, then leave a comment below suggesting a name for the package (serious suggestions only, please). We’ll print out all the comments and put them in our famous fishbowl.  We’ll then draw a comment at random, and that person wins the SRV guitar!


We’ll also choose our favorite suggestion for the package name, and whoever suggested it first will win this 2014 60th Anniversary American Fender Stratocaster.

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Strat, Fender did a 1 year limited run only in 2014 featuring a SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY NECK PLATE. A great tribute to a legendary instrument. Killer guitar. Killer sound.

So take a listen to the package, leave us a suggestion, and cross your fingers. With a little luck and a clever name, you could win both guitars!

*rules and regulations

please note: all comments are moderated before approval and can take up to 24 hours to appear.

What’s Printed Where – Free Sonic Branding LP

Free Vinyl LP

We here at SAM can’t resist having fun with music – in all its forms. Now we’re doing it again with the latest in our series of limited edition vinyl releases.

Behold our latest creation, “What’s Printed Where.”

What’s the deal?

Well, take a clear vinyl record that you can see through. Next, slip it into a transparent sleeve with a yellow image, then slide that sleeve into an album cover which is also clear, but with a blue image, and voila – it’s green!

You are now looking at a very cool LP fresh off the press from SAM – our 3rd generation sample reel – which isn’t really a reel but a vinyl record (hint: usually works best with a turntable.)

Thus our newest Stephen Arnold Music Vinyl is appropriately titled “What’s Printed Where,” since we never really knew what was going to be printed where.

The fun part is when you first receive your LP, you’ll notice the revamped image of our original sonically branded lady: a girl with a shaved head whom we have always internally referred to as “Mary.” Once again Mary is on our new vinyl, only now she’s green with red ear buds.

But once you pull the sleeve from the LP cover, it turns out our Mary is actually blue…but in fact on the sleeve she’s yellow. Confused? We are too! So let’s all roll with it – because if you reassemble the sleeve out of sequence, you may well see Mary in a totally different light (color, that is).

And as a special bonus, you’ll notice a credit card that we’ve slipped into the LP jacket and, depending on how rough the mail service was and where the card ends up inside the cover…. this card could be green, blue or yellow – until you pull it out and see it’s actually white.

And actually, it’s not a free credit card (sorry!) but a flash drive with all the music contained on the vinyl — for those of you that have retired your turntables. It’s music from our amazing partners we are privileged to work with like CNN, Golf Channel, CCTV China, ABC, ESPN, MSNBC, FOX Business, National Geographic Channel, Time Warner and over 300 local television stations.

Know what’s printed where now? If not, just listen: It’ll all make sense to your ears. And Kudos to Doug Rucker and his amazing team at Rucker and Co. in Dallas for creating something which is nothing short of creative genius.  http://www.ruckerandco.com

To request your free LP just click on the email link below. It’s that easy!

sam@stephenarnoldmusic.com

Or give us a call at:
214.726.1600

We look forward to hearing from you!

Local TV News Growth – Exciting Trends

Clients keep telling me about the new newscasts they’re launching and so, anecdotally, I know local news is doing well. But last week, Stephen forwarded to me a recent study from the Pew Research Center. Their research concluded that local television’s average viewership grew in 2014. And those gains were predominately made in nontraditional timeslots – namely the very early, midday, and 7pm. Although these newscasts still account for a small percentage of total viewers, they are showing solid growth. The 7pm time slot has grown by 8% over the last five years. And last year, that same time slot saw an 11% increase from 2013.

Pew didn’t dive into who these viewers are or why they’re tuning into local news at these nontraditional hours, but the steady viewership gains is a good reason for stations to seriously consider these timeslots and how they’re approaching them – both their content and their creative. It’s important to connect with these viewers by making your presentation appropriate for the time of day, the mood they’re in, what they’re doing, and the news they are absorbing.

Music is a great way to connect with viewers and drive the pace of the show with daypart-appropriate tracks. All of our news music packages have a plethora of themes written to connect with the audience during every daypart. If, for example, you’re using the same one or two tracks for every open, you’re missing out on an inexpensive and easy-to-implement way to set the tone of your show. And if you’re too short on time to carefully comb through your music package to find the right tracks for all of your shows, well… I happen to know some great creative guys that would be happy to take that on for you.

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Give us a call and we’ll arrange for a complete review of your newscasts. The SAM creative team will make sure all of your newscasts are utilizing the perfect tracks for the audience and daypart to keep your ratings growth on track.

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