Stephen Arnold Music

The Most Heard, Least Known Composers In America

The Company We Kept – in 2016

It was certainly a year to remember. I know I won’t forget it! Here at Stephen Arnold Music, we worked hard to help our clients be heard and stand out in 2016. And we helped them connect to their viewers and customers with custom music branding for news, sports and entertainment networks, global brands, video games and more.

“The critical importance of sonic branding is recognized across every industry,” says Stephen Arnold, President of Stephen Arnold Music. “Aural elements drive engagement, social sharing, purchase decisions, and loyalty like never before. It was extremely gratifying for all of us at Stephen Arnold Music to collaborate on so many forward-thinking campaigns in 2016.”

Here’s what we were up to last year:

CNN/HLN – “Primetime Justice with Ashleigh Banfield”
I always love working with CNN. And I was thrilled that SAM was selected to work on the new nightly news program “Primetime Justice with Ashleigh Banfield” on HLN. Monday through Thursday, the veteran journalist takes on the most pressing legal and social issues, trials and hot topics of the day. At SAM, we helped expose her expertise with a new musical theme; a strong sonic brand driven by distinctive strings, horns and assertive percussion that captures the spirit of “Primetime Justice.”

Gearbox Software – “Battleborn” Video Game
This was one of my favorite projects of the year. The elite developer Gearbox Software wanted an attention-grabbing, catchy and distinctive theme for the montage of character introductions in its “Battleborn” video game for Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC. And we gave it to them! Check out the memorable Player Select Theme, a guitar-driven composition that features catchy, aggressive hooks reflecting Battleborn’s rallying cry: “Calling All Badasses.” We had a blast using live drums, driving guitars, gang vocals, and a shredding prog-synth solo. I think it really leads players into the game…and I can still listen to it over and over again!

CNN/HLN – “How It Really Happened”
I like what HLN is doing with fresh, original content, with new offerings like “How It Really Happened” as the first of several new series. The show, hosted by actor Hill Harper, delves deeply into notorious crimes, mysteries, trials and celebrity tragedies. Our custom music package includes the show open and many other film score-style themes that capture the eerie atmospheres of the show. We also composed the show’s bumpers, commercial break intros/outros and additional cinematic elements, using consistent sonic branding.

UPS – International Communications Campaign
I wanted to see what WE could do for brown. Ha! UPS proved that it connects every corner of the Earth with their latest campaign, a set of compelling videos that demonstrates their global capabilities to audiences everywhere. I feel that our musical score was critical to the success of the project, providing a memorable musical theme that could also be adapted for Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. I love this track. It’s a really addictive beat produced
in step with the script, voiceover and visuals to drive powerful storytelling and an emotional connection with viewers worldwide. Brown, indeed!

CNN/HLN – Bleacher Report
Again, working with CNN is a blast! “Bleacher Report” is a cornerstone of sports coverage for CNN and its sister network HLN. I was really gratified that SAM was invited to create a fresh theme for this elite sports brand. We came up with a driving, indie rock-style sound, with live guitars, bass, drums – even handclaps – to give a fun and upbeat feel to one of media’s most recognizable sports brands.

CW33 – “Express Yourself” User Generated Content Campaign
This was an especially fun campaign, because we get to watch the station all the time! CW33-KDAF TV in Dallas/Ft. Worth really wanted want their station to be a part of their viewer’s daily conversation. So they created the engaging “Express Yourself” campaign, encouraging viewers to interact with the station by uploading and sharing fresh UGC (User Generated Content) consistent with the campaign’s motivational theme. We had a real chance to do a cool pop tune here. It’s catchy and original – a perfect up-tempo mashup of new school funk-pop and old-school Motown doo wop. We’re STILL dancing…

 

The Six Strings of Christmas – Behind the Scenes

It’s been a few years since the successful launch of our 1st Christmas album, The Six Strings of Christmas. And with 100% of the proceeds of the sales benefiting Little Kids Rock, thousands of school-age disadvantaged kids across the nation received musical instruments and lessons at no cost. We’re pretty proud of that. So, this year, we are VERY excited to release our newest holiday collection, The Six Strings of Christmas, Volume 2. We’ve been hard at work on this project since last summer (it was sort of strange recording these holiday classics in 90 degree Texas heat). We brought together many of the finest studio musicians who work on our various sonic branding projects to perform 14 tracks on stringed instruments. It’s REALLY beautiful stuff. And again, all proceeds will benefit Little Kids Rock so that more kids can pursue their musical dreams.

All of these cuts were recorded, mixed and carefully mastered at Stephen Arnold Music’s T-Bone studios in Fairview, TX (just north of Dallas). We used a tremendous range of stringed instruments on this project, like dulcimer, nylon, steel and 12 string acoustic guitar, mandolin, double bass, harp guitar, fiddle, dobro, piano and, of course, sleigh bells! (we know, NOT stringed – but they are strung together!) Each of these musicians created their own arrangements of these Christmas classics and performed them either solo or with other musicians. We particularly enjoyed recording We Three Kings with three “kings” of guitar, all playing together in the studio in a single live performance – with no overdubs!

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ALL the musicians on this album are truly “kings” of their instruments. For example, one of our artists, Milo Deering, has toured extensively with LeAnn Rimes, and has played on most of her albums. Most recently, he has also toured with Don Henley. Chris Carrington, classical guitarist extraordinaire, grew up in Caracas, Venezuela and has served on university music department faculties nationwide. He is also a renowned luthier (that’s a guitar maker). You can check out his amazing creations here.

Hmmm…does a guitar maker who builds Martin guitars call himself a “Martin Luthier”? But I digress…

Stephen & Demitri

Stephen Arnold even played a Greek instrument on one of the tracks! One week into the recording sessions, Stephen was off traveling in Greece. While strolling through a flea market, he spotted and snagged a 50 year-old, hand-made “bouzouki” (an instrument that was introduced in Greece in the 1900’s by immigrants from Asia Minor – similar to a mandolin with a long neck). Well, it might have been Greek to Stephen, but since it only has 3 strings (each doubled), he was able to somehow make it work! You can check out this unique sound on the track Joy to the World.

So do yourself – and your loved ones – a favor, and pick up our new Six Strings of Christmas, Volume 2. You can order or download it here.

And while you’re on that same page, purchase a copy of the Six Strings of Christmas Volume 1! We’re very proud of these collections that will bring lots of joy and good cheer into your holidays. Plus, they make a great gift! And remember, 100% of the proceeds goes to Little Kids Rock. Who knows, maybe one of the kids who benefits from instruments and lessons from this project will one day perform on a FUTURE volume of The Six Strings of Christmas! As we say in the stringed instrument business … stay tuned.

The Six Strings of Christmas, Volume 2

It’s Here  – Hot off the Press!

We’re really excited about our newest holiday edition of The Six Strings of Christmas – Volume 2! Our first album was a big hit, and now you can enjoy 14 NEW beautiful performances from our stable of outstanding studio musicians on this latest collection. Best of all, 100% of the proceeds benefit Little Kids Rock, which provides free musical instruments and lessons to underprivileged kids across the country.

Here’s a sneak peek at a couple of the tracks:

It’s available on Amazon right now, so get your copy in time for the holidays! It’s a great album, benefiting a wonderful cause. AND it makes a terrific Christmas gift!

Order yours today, and Happy Holidays to all of you!

More Than Just Guitars

Anyone who knows SAM knows we love our guitars.  But since Stephen is an avid collector of more than just the classic six-string we all know so well, I thought it’d be fun to show off some of the less-well-known instruments we have around the studio.

 

 

Production Music Conference 2016 & Mark Awards

There’s certainly no rest for the weary after two full, non-stop days in beautiful Santa Monica, CA! Now in its 3rd year, the Production Music Association (PMA) held its annual Production Music Conference featuring some of the most knowledgeable folks in the music industry.  Keynote addresses by film score heavyweight Harry Gregson-Williams and Musician/Tech/Social hot shot D.A. Wallach?  Check.  Panels featuring the top copyright and music lawyers in the country?  Check.  How about discussions and Q&A’s from top film trailer music supervisors, technology firms and creative processes?  Oh, yeah!

But we weren’t satisfied with just attending – we had to wine and dine some clients and LA based artists as well. We checked in on our good friend Tom Freund, Premier Tracks (available NOW in the Vault!), hip hop producer and Vault artist Anno Domini, to name just a few. And we just had to see the new post production suites used by the UFC, (they’re killer, by the way)

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The two-day event culminated in the Mark Awards, which recognized the industry’s best music and productions. Of course, The Vault by Stephen Arnold Music took top honors of the night for “Best Use of Music in an On-Air Promotion.”  It features the track Party Noise Bulla from our Song Zu catalog, and was selected to roll out FOX’s hit show “Rosewood.”  Check out the spot here: