Does Every Brand Have a Sound?

SFS Blogger Returns Home With Overview From Experts on the West Coast

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NARIP confab: (From l.) Three Ring Projects CEO Jeff Rabhan, Coca-Cola's Global Music Marketing Manager Umut Ă–zaydinli, NARIP President Tess Taylor, Bluestone Partners CEO in Residence Martin Pazzani and Wright Crear Management's Jared Rosenberg
After a globe-trotting couple of weeks, the full SFS team is finally back together in New York. I've just returned from NARIP's "Bands, Brands & Beyond Expo" in Los Angeles, where I presented at the keynote. The National Association of Recording Industry Professionals confab was a well-attended and well-designed event with a large contingent of industry leaders and an impressive line of speakers, some of whose comments I've noted below:

Tena Clark, chief creative officer for DMI Music & Media Solutions, started out the day with a clear view on music branding. "At the heart of every brand is a unique sound," she said. "You've got to work very hard to discover what it is or should be. It's what we call the soundDNA, something that can build emotional connections with the brand. SoundDNA is the answer to the question 'What is the sound of your brand?'"

This idea of "sound branding" was also echoed by Martin Pazzani, CEO-in-residence at Bluestone Capital and former CEO of Elias Arts, who said, "A growing number of marketers are beginning to see the benefits of using audio, the sense of hearing, at a much higher level than ever before. They use music and sound as an integrated, planned, strategic communication tool rather than a lowly production afterthought. These marketers are creating the new discipline of audio brand identity and realizing a new area of competitive advantage."

The issue of branding for artists was another clear theme echoed by many of the panelists, including Umut Ă–zaydinli, global music marketing manager, worldwide sports and entertainment marketing for Coca-Cola, who had this piece of advice for artists: "Everyone must become his own brand manager."

Finally, your very own SFS argued that "artists need to think of themselves as brands; what they stand for, what their values are and what message they want to give," if they are to succeed in partnering with consumer brands.

Anyhow, back to some real work now!

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Mike Tunnicliffe owns Tuna Music LLC, a New York- and London-based management company. Find out more at
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