Stephen Arnold Music

The Most Heard, Least Known Composers In America

I’m Weather Ready — And The Winner Is…

We are pleased to announce the winner of our I’m Weather Ready – Weather Proof Guitar Giveaway.

This weather proof RainSong Smokey SMH guitar, which uses the latest in carbon fiber and glass fiber technology to produce a beautiful mellow and resonant tone goes to Mike Bush of KAAL-TV.

Thanks so much for entering, everyone, and congrats to our winners!

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…

 

Top 50 Most Loved Sounds

At Stephen Arnold Music, we are obsessed with sonic branding.  Our mission, on every project, is to create a distinctive melody or sound that will connect a brand or product to its target audience.

brainSound and music share a unique quality. They can both trigger memories – and emotional responses.  A certain song can remind you of the first person you fell in love with, a sporting event, a certain year in high school, a sad moment, or a memorable trip with good friends.  Even simple sounds – the crackle of a fire, church bells ringing, crickets chirping, or water running through a stream – can make you feel a certain way.

opening-can-of-sodaWhen associated with a brand or product, music and sound work the same way.  For example, think of the music from Star Wars, or Monday Night Football – or the simple, relaxing sound of the ocean featured on Corona beer commercials.

 

Popping bubble wrapEven more interesting is that, with frequency and consistency over time, music or a certain sound ALONE can trigger the recollection of an entire brand, including a logo, characters, personalities, and of course, the product itself.  It’s really amazing how people respond to sounds and melodies in such distinct ways.

 

Baby laughingThe Telegraph, a newspaper/publication in the UK, put together a list of the “Top 50 Most Loved Sounds.”  I found the list fascinating – especially the emotions, thoughts, and images that passed through my mind as I read each item. So I thought it would be fun to share that Top 50 list. And when you read through it, observe what goes through your mind in terms of images, memories, and emotional responses.

TOP 50 MOST LOVED SOUNDS

  1. Waves against rocks
  2. Rain against the windowsrain-on-window
  3. Treading on snow
  4. Baby laughing
  5. Birds chirping
  6. Crackling open fire
  7. People laughing
  8. Leaves crunching beneath your feet
  9. Cat purring
  10. Church bells in the distance
  11. Thunder
  12. Wind passing through leaves of a tree
  13. Piano playing
  14. Owl hooting
  15. Bacon sizzling
  16. Sound of the sea in a conch shell
  17. Pouring wine
  18. Pebbles thrown into water
  19. Fireworks
  20. Choir singing
  21. Steam train whistle
  22. Popping a corkchampagne__1882471a
  23. Electric guitar
  24. Bubble wrap popping
  25. Whale calling
  26. Fizzy drink poured on ice
  27. People laughing/screaming on rollercoasters
  28. Roar of a Ferrari engine
  29. Cricket bat hitting a cricket ball
  30. Bumblebee buzzing
  31. Piercing foil on a new jar of coffee
  32. Popping popcorn
  33. Violin
  34. Seagulls calling
  35. Crickets
  36. Fairground music
  37. Formula one car engine
  38. Arcade/amusement games
  39. Crunch of biting an appleBite into apple
  40. Lawn mowers in the summer
  41. Clock ticking
  42. Opening of a fizzy can
  43. Cockerel calling
  44. Airplane taking off
  45. Underground train approaching
  46. Kettle boiling
  47. Crowds chanting at a football match
  48. Clatter of coins
  49. Tea spoon clinking
  50. Clapping

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!