The PromaxBDA Daily Brief Podcast: Transcript of Interview with Stephen Arnold Music

Paige: Hello. I am Paige Albiniak, editorial director for PromaxBDA, and this is the Daily Brief podcast. You can subscribe to the Daily Brief podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Play, Spotify, or wherever you get your favorite podcasts. And if you are enjoying our podcast, please head over to Apple Podcast and give us lots of stars. It helps other people find us.
So today I have the honor of having with me Stephen Arnold and Chad Cook. Stephen is president and founder of Stephen Arnold Music, and Chad is vice president creative. Welcome both of you. Thank you for joining me.

Stephen: Thank you.

Chad: Thanks, Paige.

Paige: So to kick it off, Stephen, why don’t you tell me a little bit about your background. I know you have an incredible passion for guitars, and then what lead you to launch your company.

Stephen: Well, I guess growing up I had many, many years of kind of gun-to-the-head piano lessons, but by the time I was I guess I was in junior high, I really gravitated toward guitar and head bands and all that kind of stuff. So I ended up in LA for three or four years trying to get my lucky break, which never really happened. And I ended up back in my hometown, Dallas, because my folks had a retail store and they wanted me to do a jingle, and I had never really done a jingle. So, as a result of that, the recording studio that I recorded the jingle in happened to be for sale, and the guy who was selling it, (actually his dad owned it) and was really wealthy, and so he said, “Hey, my studio’s for sale. Do you want to buy it?” And of course I had no money, and he said, “That’s fine. My dad will finance it for you.” So that’s basically what happened.

I started off thinking that we were going to just record bands and then I would have a free place to do my own songs and I could head out to LA and pitch those. But we learned real quickly that, just like I had no money in LA, the people that recorded in our studio had no money, and pretty soon we had hot checks and all that stuff. So we ended up then doing jingles for ma/pa shops and banks and car dealers and stuff like that, and one thing led to another, and I got an opportunity to do some music for one of the local stations in Dallas, and that’s kind of how things kicked off.

So I did that for a number of years, and then I hired Chad when Chad was probably not even out of college, so we kind of just tackled it together and here we are 25 years later.

Paige: And so what … I mean, I know this, but tell the listeners what it is that Stephen Arnold music does as it is configured today.

Stephen: Well, there’s probably three silos. One is we do a lot of original music, custom music for broadcast and cable networks, everything from CNN to ESPN, all those types of properties. Then secondly we do quite a number of local news packages for stations all around the country. In fact, I think we have over 350 stations we provide music for on a daily basis from our news packages. And then the third silo is a music production library that we launched probably eight, nine years ago, and we’re starting to focus a lot more on that. It’s gotten a lot of good traction. It’s called The Vault. So those are the three basic things that we do.

Paige: And then Chad-

Chad: Yeah, if I could interject real quick, as Stephen and I have done this over the years, you start as sort of a music company where you’re creating custom music and with various types of clients. And what we found over the years was, when we’re dealing with clients, we’re dealing with marketing strategies, brand positions, trying to attract a target audience. So I think what we’ve found over the years is we’ve become more of a sonic branding agency versus just a custom music house that might be scoring a TV show or this or that. So now we take deep dives with our clients into how we can really exploit the sonic branding side of what their goals are, and I think that’s something that over the years that’s helped take our business to another level in terms of our reputation and what we can bring to the table.

Paige: So why don’t you elaborate on that and just define for our listeners what sonic branding is, and what that means that you do for your clients.

Chad: Stephen, you want to take it?

Stephen: Yeah. Sonic branding is … and actually it’s kind of funny because we didn’t really coin the phrase, I’m not sure where that came from, although we’ve used it for a number of years, but it’s basically any audio sound that can trigger an emotional connection, so to speak. Even back in caveman days, there’d be thunder and they would run to the caves. So in theory, that’s really what it is. But what we’ve done is try to take that to another level where you have a set of notes and it becomes kind of your sonic stamp. We often refer to it as the “John Hancock” of music. And really it’s really kind of the aural equivalent of a graphic logo, but because it’s sound, it’s tapping into one of the most powerful memory senses. So we basically try to take that type of audio brand, a set of notes, and put that into the music to where it becomes almost chewing gum stuck in your head.

Chad: And in fact, we stay in … oh, go ahead.

Stephen: Well, I was just going to say one of the key ingredients of a sonic brand, or when you talk about sonic branding, is that there’s got to be a consistency. It’s got to be very frequent and repetitive. And when those three things are combined, then pretty much that’s what creates that emotional connection and emotional response where you hear … even if we’re on a telephone and somebody, you can hear their Apple mail, you know exactly what’s going on.

Paige: Right. And then would you say that sonic branding, at least the goal of it in many cases, is to drive an action?

Stephen: Yeah, absolutely. What you’re trying to do is create something that gives somebody a call to action or makes them want to do something, and you don’t have to have the visuals to do it. You could be standing in another room, in the kitchen, and the TV’s on in the background, and you hear a set of notes from your favorite TV show, and you go, “Oh, it’s time to watch this.”

Paige: Right, right. Same with the Apple sound, you go check your email.

Chad: Exactly. And it’s also about making that brand connection beyond … We always say you can’t sing the announcer or hum the graphics, but you can usually make connections to sound, like Stephen said, even if you’re not staring at the TV or the mobile device. It’s a brand impression and hopefully however you’ve designed that music or sound, it’s also maybe creating an action, a reaction, or reinforcing some kind of emotional tone that you associate with your product. And bringing up the Apple sound, it’s not always about music or a melody. Sometimes it is like the sound that Skype makes. We’ve done stuff where we’ve designed sounds for a video conference calling company so that there’s a distinctive sound, or Associated Press, where people running the app hear an alert as a new story comes in. All of that, even like the open to the show “24,” was just a digital clock with a cool percussion on it. So it’s not just music, per se, or melody. Sometimes it’s sound and music combined working together.

Paige: And what I know you … You talked about the three buckets that you guys operated, and what I know you for predominantly is designing music packages for local TV stations. We’re also going to talk about the networks around the world that you create music for, but let’s start locally. So you have several packages out there, or everywhere I go, which won a PROMAX [inaudible 00:07:38] last year, and you also have Morning Ready and Waking Up My Day, and I’m just wondering what local campaign you’ve done recently, and as you’re out there with local stations and the business changes, what are you finding that they’re wanting and needing from their sonic brands and their station soundtracks that are different than maybe what they’ve wanted in the past.

Stephen: Chad, you want to chime in on this?

Chad: Sure. The image song is nothing new to the local television world. I would say going back maybe four to five years ago, we tried to make a very concerted effort to kind of rethink how to do that and make it more genuine, less sales-y, less jingly. And we looked at where the areas of need are. One of the biggest areas is morning. Morning show generates live people that watching live television. You can record your 10:00 news, but when you’re getting your day going and you want to know the news, the traffic, the weather, school closings, that kind of thing, that became the most competitive landscape in local televisions which are those cherished morning ratings. So obviously having a compelling campaign to build that brand and attract more viewers and reinforce that brand was a big need on the local station level. Another thing we did is we’ve written every campaign from the viewer perspective. I think traditional advertising, especially at the local level over the years, has often been about let me tell the viewer how great we are and why to watch us, versus these campaigns are almost a celebration from viewer perspective of why they rely on their local media source.

Stephen: And then-

Chad: Yeah, go ahead.

Stephen: I was going to say, further to that too, part of what we do is once we develop a campaign, then typically they’ll have a certain shelf life, so then we’ll take the same concept, or maybe the same melodic structure, and we’ll take it to a new style, a new version, a hipper version, that type of thing. So it really combines the freshness with the fact that there’s also still that musical equity that was established.

Paige: Right. You want to keep the brand but evolve it forward.

Chad: Yes. In fact, I have a little story of interest that happened on the phone with a client. I’m not going to mention the clients, I don’t know if they would want me to. But this is a station in a market that had not been a very dominant station, and they started our Waking Up My Day campaign, gosh, I think we released it maybe three years ago and we’ve done, like Stephen said, we’ve done four different songs to keep expanding the campaign. They had run out of gas with it and felt like they had saturated the market with it, but then they did some research, and they looked and back before they started running the campaign, they had zero people that said they watched their morning show. Two years into the campaign, they had over 30% of the people they talked to watching their particular morning show, so we’re actually in the process of reviving even a new song to the campaign for them to keep it fresh. But that’s a true success story.

Paige: Yeah. I feel like also the viewer first point of view that you just talked about, that’s relative … I mean, it’s not new, it didn’t happen this year or last month, but I feel like it is a relatively new stance, and also that you’re creating more, instead of just news jingles, you’re creating songs. And didn’t you guys have … correct me if I’m wrong … wasn’t there a song, wasn’t that Waking Up My Day where they did an American Idol competition to it?

Stephen: Yes. [crosstalk 00:11:31] Yeah, that was a station up in Washington D.C., and that was a lot of fun. And they’ve been running that campaign for a couple of years and the viewers loved it, so they had people send in clips of them singing it in their bathrooms and living rooms and put it together. It was fantastic.

Paige: Yeah, and then they had a competition where people recorded their own versions, and I think the viewers voted on it, right?

Stephen: Correct. [crosstalk 00:11:58]

Chad: To get tickets to be first in line, yeah.

Paige: Yeah, so that’s kind of a cool station-generated, fan-generated take on the local stuff. All right. So, an exciting and really topical project that you guys have just done is Aiming for Gold for CNN Worldwide’s coverage of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. So, Stephen, how did this project originate? I feel like you guys do a fair amount of work for CNN.

Stephen: Yeah, and this really started back … I think we got the call around the beginning of the summer, because they … Obviously CNN doesn’t do any of the program, whatever, but they do a lot of backstories and things like that, so-

Chad: Athlete profiles.

Stephen: Yeah. So it was very interesting. At first they wanted to keep it just more generic, just Olympic type of thing, but then the more we got into it, they wanted to kind of sprinkle some Korean textures into it. So it really was an evolutionary process. We’ve done a lot of international stuff, and we’re pretty used to trying to, I guess, walk that fine line between making something indigenous and not making it too forced or obvious. So it’s a really balance in there, because oftentimes the client will want to make sure they can really hear it, and we understand that, well, that’s great, except that you’re going to be airing this over, and over, and over again, and you may get tired of hearing this Korean drum dance song too loud, that type of thing.
So it was a lot of back and forth, and we did a lot of research to determine what some of the popular sounds were and that type of thing. At one point there was a real popular Korean artist who helped us, I guess, get over the hurdle. I’m trying to think what her name was.

Paige: Luna?

Chad: Luna. The gayageum, the Korean zither.

Stephen: Yeah, so Chad I think was out of town for a week, the one week when they were grilling me on … I’m like, “Chad, why’d you leave?” He’s the one that kind of really gets in the trenches with them. And so, anyway, once I sent them that video, and the sound starts to shift three or four different great things, so that really got us all in sync and lockstep with trying to go after the Korean textures. So from there it was a matter of taking the existing track, the scratch track we had done, and layering in the instruments, and then of course they had a team that was actually in Korea that they kept playing the stuff for to make sure that it was authentic and that type of thing. So yeah, that’s kind of how that came about.

Paige: Yeah, I wonder if that’s hard to know … to have that sort of knowledge as to what are the Korean instruments and what’s a Korean sound, so you aren’t hammering them over the head with it, but, yeah, it did seem like it would something that would have to be pretty thoroughly researched to have it come out correctly.

Chad: It was, and to the point of even playing it at the Hong Kong office, we had to show that this was Korean and not Chinese or Vietnamese. We literally had to pull a mix with just the Korean instruments and then links to native Koreans playing them to show …Because you know, in some regions, what may be … If you cross over from one country to the other, it’s kind of like the Latino music, how different is Cuban and Tahano? If you choose the wrong instrument, you become very disingenuous quickly.

Paige: Right. So did you guys ultimately … It sounds like you had enough time, though, to get it right.

Stephen: Yeah, these types of things, they know way far in advance. Plus there’s a huge process, usually, that goes on. And with a company like Turner or CNN, there are so many cooks in the kitchen, that they allow a lot of time to be able to get people to chime in and make sure everything’s not only sounding good, but is politically correct.

Paige: Right. And then there was a big graphics package that went with that music. Are you involved with that, or that’s totally done on the CNN side?

Chad: They do that on their end.

Stephen: Yeah, they do all that.

Paige: Does the music come first and then the graphics go to the music?

Chad: It really varies.

Stephen: Yeah. In fact, people ask me what comes first, the words or the music. And I always tell them it’s the deadline.

Chad: That’s true. In this case we did score to their … they already had some graphic concepts, and we did start being inspired and writing to their visuals, which usually you kind of go back and forth, and sometimes it’s just frames that you see, and they say it’s going to be about 12 seconds, and here’s the look, and you kind of explore reference tracks and trying to nail the pacing and instrumentation. Then once you have a rudimentary track done that everyone’s liking, they’re usually in the background continuing to evolve the graphics. So it’s usually quite a bit of back and forth. And then when you get a time lock, you do any of those final nuances or sound sweetening elements.

Paige: Right. And then you also had the Dallas and Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra record music for the project. They obviously did typical orchestral sounds. Did they also do some of the Korean sounds, or did those come from Korean artists? And how hard is it to get all of that organized? Because that seems like a giant project on its own.

Chad: Go ahead, Stephen.

Stephen: Well, I was just going to say, typically you don’t get the whole orchestra in at the same time. One, it’s hard to find a room big enough to do that, and two, really, to get that many people scheduled. So we do it in sections, like we’ll do violins and violas, and then we’ll do cello, and if it’s an upright bass, contrabass or whatever, then all that kind of stuff happens at different times. The French horns come in separately from the trumpets, and the bones, and that type of thing. And even when the brass is in, the trumpets and trombones, they typically get recorded separately. So being able to schedule those at different times helps us be able to get it all done.

Chad: And we had media, you traditionally have to pull some track of mixes of just strings and drums, just horns and drums. If you don’t cut them discretely, you’re kind of stuck with one big full mix because of all the bleed through from the instruments. So in media-

Paige: Right, you can’t pull the tracks.

Chad: Exactly.

Paige: Okay, that makes sense. So, that probably makes it both easier and harder.

Chad: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Paige: And then did they handle the playing of the Korean instruments? Or did you guys have Korean musicians do that? Or how did you handle that part?

Stephen: Mostly those were authentic … Basically, there’s a lot of samples out there that are just great, great samples, especially when it comes to plucked instruments and to percussion things. So almost all, in fact all of those Korean sounds were all basically sample sounds. There might have been … Chad, was there a drum … I can’t remember if we did a live drum thing or not.

Chad: We did pick up a drum that’s part of that [inaudible 00:19:51] kit and add it to a loop that we had to do tempo adjustments. It’s a very difficult instrument because you take sticks and hit the drumhead, then the side, and you clang the sticks together. So it’s this whole way of playing this syncopated drum figure, and we basically combined samples with some stuff that we enhanced to make it natural to the track. And then some of these exotic zither instruments were sampled and readjusted to tempos, and a lot of the tricks that, unless you’re going to go to that country, you often have to work that way.

Paige: And then you said that the music was played in, I’m assuming, CNN’s Hong Kong office. You guys didn’t necessarily go to Korea?

Stephen: They basically had people in the Hong Kong office that wanted to listen and chime in on the creative, so they had to present it to them. So we didn’t actually record it there, if that’s what you were saying.

Paige: I just wonder, I feel like it would be helpful to have experience of the culture to sort of get a feel of what the music is supposed to sound like. I feel like it would be hard to create music without really having an understanding of the culture, but I know that there’s limitations, both logistically and budgetarily.

Stephen: Well, that’s why we do a lot of research.

Paige: Okay. All right, so then, staying in Asia, you guys also just did a sonic rebrand for China Global Television Networks. (music) So that whole package, it looked like to me from the video I watched, that it airs globally, so it can’t just be a Chinese sound. So talk about how you composed that and what you were trying to accomplish with that sonic brand. And I’ll start with you, Chad.

Chad: Right. So we had initially done a full brand relaunch, gosh, Stephen, probably about three, maybe three and a half years ago for … the parent channel is CCTV in China out of Beijing. They’ve got 33 channels domestically. But they have a set of what they call their international news channels. There’s Arabic, Spanish, English, Russian, and French, which is actually French Africa, so it’s more African tones as far as the music, but it’s a French channel. So we did a full rebrand, and Stephen and I did go back and forth to Beijing several times for that one. And that’s a little intimidating because you’re literally sitting in a room with 40 + people from the five channels, and the boss, and the boss’s boss, and the boss’s boss. And you have to take them through sonic melodies, and luckily we were teamed up with set and graphics teams, and we all came in together and presented collective pieces and concepts, so there were always visuals with the music, and it was presented in a very methodical fashion.

But to your point, we had to develop a package that had just an international appeal, but we could also put some regional instruments over it depending on what type of show it was, or what channel it was on. And one thing with these international channels is like Stephen said earlier, you usually don’t … the Korean thing was a little bit unusual because it was so region specific, but if you’re looking at the middle … like the Arabic channel, you have to Pan-Arab. You can’t be using Egyptian loop and an Iraqi loop because you’ve got to stick to the broad strokes. And with international music, it usually is a little more emotional music then the high impact music like we do over here, at least when it comes to news. So it was really a matter of coming up with a distinct melody they could share, some more emotive, more cinematic arrangements that allowed us to drop in little textures here and there across the board, because it had to live on five different channels.

With the rebrand, they changed their name from CCTV International to CGTN because they were basically rebranding the five international channels to a name that made more sense to the world outside of China. And with that, we kept our same sonic brand mnemonic, but they were all new arrangements. And another initiative is that they wanted to promote that they’re digital, they’re mobile, you can access all of these channels multi-platform. So a big push was to make the music a little more modern, a little bit more digital per se, to have that appeal.

Paige: So do you know how many pieces of music that project ultimately resulted in?

Chad: Gosh, between the initial project and this, there’s probably 50 plus arrangements, easily.

Paige: Yeah, because you’re covering five channels plus different kinds of programming plus … yeah.

Chad: And all the promos and network channel ideas, too. So it’s pretty extensive. But it’s fun doing these international projects because each one is different and the instrumentation’s different. And the way that you appeal to a different region … We were laughing when we went to Beijing because we worked a German design company, and for the design, they had to figure out, okay, what we call the unlucky number in the West is not the unlucky number in the East, and this color means this in the East, but this color means that in the West. So you literally have to get into the culture and make sure that you’re resonating in a way that makes sense in that part of the country or to that region.

Paige: When did you guys get into the international part of the business, Stephen?

Stephen: Gosh, I’m trying to think the very first thing that we had ever done. Chad, do you remember? What [crosstalk 00:26:38] was it Germany? I can’t remember.

Chad: A European broadcast. Yeah, it was for all of Europe for World Cup for a European conglomerate, and that was our first. And then we started working with CNN in the mid ’90s and started doing some stuff for international for them, and then that kind of spiraled into other opportunities.

Paige: So it’s been quite a long time, actually.

Chad: Oh yeah.

Stephen: Yeah. And you know what’s interesting? A lot of the international channels, especially when it comes to news, they really want to emulate CNN or BBC, so it’s not nearly as, I guess as I said earlier, indigenous to the area as you might think. So when you’ve got the credentials of working with CNN, that certainly helps us, gives us some credibility.

Paige: Right. Actually I was listening to several of the samples that you guys provided, and I was a little surprised at how it did sound-

Stephen: Western?

Paige: Yeah, less indigenous than I thought it would, and more kind of typical newsy, and I can see where it’s influenced by CNN and so forth.

Chad: Well, one thing is that the channels overseas also look to how American media is built because we’re looked at sort of the top example of set, graphics, music, and so they do model a lot of things after what we do here, which is one reason, a lot of times, they hire companies over here, whether it’s for talent coaching or set graphics or music, and then a lot of European companies as well because they do a lot of great work there too. So there’s lot of opportunities, and, as you know, we just finished a package – of all places – for Sri Lanka, and you just never know what the next challenge is going to be.

Paige: Yeah. Do you guys find that … I kind of asked this question earlier, too, with regard to local stations, but have you found that across the globe that the way networks are using music to brand themselves has changed? Or is it more just catching up with where the US is? Or sort of where are we at in the evolution of that?

Chad: Are you saying local stations?

Paige: No, I’m saying internationally and across the whole globe, are people … do you feel like they are up to speed on how to use sonic branding? Or do you feel like that they’re sort of catching up to where the US is?

Stephen: Yeah. I think that they, at least our experience internationally, is that there sort of is an epiphany with them when we start talking about sonic branding, because the idea of taking a set of notes and trying to put it across all the platforms and that type of thing is really something that they, in our experience, have not been used to doing, except for the big brands like BBC and things like that. But even, I think when we did CCTV, but when we first presented for example … I had a guitar and played these seven or eight ideas just on a single note on a guitar, and they were intrigued with the fact that, oh, you could actually hum this and you don’t have to have the whole production to hear it. But I think things are kind of evolving, too, now, simply because of just the dynamics of our technology, and where there is just so much content out there, and you have to make your brand heard or felt in nanoseconds, so to speak.

Chad: I think one of the biggest differences between, too, is the length, the time that you have for a sonic brand or a graphic for that matter. In the US, as you’ve probably noticed, everything is right out of the gate quick and you are right into content. And then there’s a little bit more of a digital footprint. So one thing I’ve noticed here is, boy, you’ve got to get to it, make your announcement with your sonic brand, and boom, you are in to it. And internationally, which I actually like, there’s still the longer opens with the lush graphics, and it gives you a little bit more of a canvas to paint your arrangements. So at the same time there’s good and bad to both. You get a little bit more to work with usually internationally in terms of the music scores – you can spread your wings little bit more.

Paige: I just feel like there’s so much sonic branding in people’s everyday lives, and they don’t even realize that it’s there.

Chad: Mm-hmm (affirmative), very true.

Stephen: Yeah, very true. I mean, if you are to just look at your day and think about all the different sounds that trigger whatever. How many times have you been on a phone call and you can tell somebody’s getting in their car?

Paige: Or you can tell if they’re getting an email and then they stop paying attention to what you’re saying.

Stephen: Yeah. So it’s definitely something that people don’t realize how much that they’re, I guess, emotionally influenced by the sounds that are around them.

Chad: To bring it into our business, we had talked about morning shows being so important domestically at the local level. I think that’s a great example of how you have little toners for the traffics or school closings, for the weather forecast. You’re getting your kids ready, you’re making coffee, you got the TV on in the living room, but you hear the breaking news thing, you’ll hear the weather forecast, and boom, your attention goes to the TV to pay attention to that information. So there’s a lot of ways to use that to interact with your audience.

Paige: Yeah. So are there any cool new projects on the horizon for you guys that you can talk about?

Chad: Sony PlayStation Major League Baseball 2018, we do all kinds of things, it’s all over the map, but this was a big network level theme for Sony’s new Major League Baseball 2018 blockbuster video game releasing in March, and that … we had to write sort of the main theme when you start the game and go to your menu, and then it takes you in and out of, they call it the main selects of the game. And that was really interesting because we used big strings, big brass, big horns. They wanted it to sound as big as the NFL on Fox or the NFL on NBC, but the interesting challenge with that is we had to write about a three minute piece that broke into about 20 second vignettes to use in various menu portions of the game. But they wanted a very, very contemporary album-level, urban beats element to the theme, so we worked with a beats artist who’s worked with Snoop Dogg and some of the best hip hop artists that actually have some content in our Vault music library, and we actually worked with him over these big arrangements to come in and do all these really cool true album quality urban beats, and the result was just amazing, one of the coolest things we’ve ever done. So we’ll be able to share that here in probably about mid-March when the game gets released.

Paige: Have you guys done games before?

Chad: Not to this level. This is our first blockbuster.

Stephen: Yeah, the whole gaming thing too is a little bit of a challenge to me because it’s all … from a revenue stream-wise, it’s all about what you get on the front side. And traditionally in our business with broadcast, there’s a lot of revenue that gets generated by what they call performance royalties. So it helps to have things that monetize better.

Paige: Right. And then I would think the tricky part with games is there’s a lot of menus you have to go through, and so you have to sort of make sure that there’s a sound at each point where a sound is needed, so it would be a lot of going through, clicking through menus and making sure you’ve got it all covered.

Chad: Absolutely.

Stephen: Oh, absolutely. Well, there’s just a huge element list when it comes to games in terms of all the different … what they call the different layers and subtractive mixes and things like that, because as somebody turns the corner and goes from a dark thing into the light, the sound has to change as those layers change, and it gets extremely complex. And even the Sony game, even though that’s just one theme out of the game, our engineer, Paul, must have mixed on that for three weeks.

Paige: Does it have a soundtrack, too? Did you guys do the soundtrack to the game? Or did you do just the menu sounds?

Chad: Just the menu sounds. The theme that we did was to use on the main menu boards and when you start the game with all the animatics and that kind of thing. But we did have to mix it in surrounds for different PlayStation speaker configurations, and it had to be able to fold back to stereo. But the main thing is, we gave it to them as stems with all the pieces so that they could pick it up at 20 seconds in or 40 seconds in. In this case, we kind of delivered all these different elements so they could then go build out and program what they needed. And in terms of the ancillary music for other parts of the game, I’m not sure where they sourced that.

Paige: Right. All right, well, I think this is a good place to kind of wrap it up. But everybody who listened all the way through probably now has a master’s degree in sonic branding, so I appreciate that you guys. Educating everyone. Anything else you want to say before we wrap it up?

Stephen: Just thanks for having us.

Paige: Yeah. I’ll look forward to hearing about the PlayStation MLB story when it comes out next month. That’s awesome.

Chad: Thank you, Paige.

Paige: All right, thanks guys, and have a great day.

Chad: You too.

Stephen: Okay. Bye-bye.

Paige: Paige Albiniak is editorial director of Pro Max BDA. LaFern Cusak is executive producer of the Daily Brief podcast and senior producer at Pro Max BDA. Video Helper provides the music. Digital producer, Kate Lecuyer Marian, and social media coordinator, Kristen Craik, contributes to Daily Brief. Follow Paige on Twitter @PaigeJ. Follow LaFern @LaFernCusak, and follow PromaxBDA @PromaxBDA. You can reach out to us at, And you can subscribe to the Daily Brief podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Podamatic, and now on Spotify. Thanks for listening.