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The New Era of Sonic Branding: A Conversation with Jack Bradley - Part 2
Episode 21022nd November 2023 • Audio Branding • Jodi Krangle
00:00:00 00:33:30

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“My now retired business partner, who was the head composer for this company for years and years and years, he put that perfectly, and he said, I remember he talked to a young composer. He said, ‘Look, at the end of the day, it’s the difference between art and craft,’ said, ‘when you’re making your own music and you’re doing your own thing, it’s art, it’s art for you. You’re the artist and you’re making it and you can make it whatever you want, whatever you want. But when you’re making something for a brand, it’s a craft. You’re being hired to make a specific thing.’" -- Jack Bradley


Can you hear a brand? This week we continue to explore the world of audio branding with our audio expert and executive producer Jack Bradley. In the second half of our conversation, we talk about how the creation of music for a brand is a delicate blend of skill and ingenuity, between time constraints and client expectations. The sonic branding landscape has evolved drastically amid the pandemic, with the boom of podcasts and TikTok reshaping how we perceive branded music. We explore what this means for brand recognition when this happens and how a deeper understanding of a brand can lead to a refined, recognizable audio identity. Issues of negotiation, payment, and licenses in sonic branding are also touched upon, revealing the underlying complexities of this booming industry.

We also delve deeper into the converging worlds of AI, remote work, and audio-first social platforms. With AI-generated music, who holds the creative rights? How is the rise of influencer musicians impacting the industry, and how is the potential for more branded content shaping the future? Jack also takes us behind the scenes, sharing the best online audio resources and offering a sneak peek at some of his current sonic branding projects.

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(0:00:00) - Audio Branding

We explore the difference between art and craft when it comes to audio branding. As Jack puts it, “When you’re making your own music and you’re doing your own thing, it’s art, it’s art for you. You’re the artist and you’re making it and you can make it whatever you want, whatever you want. But when you’re making something for a brand, it’s a craft.” We discuss how clients will often pay for an audio brand and then neglect to use it effectively, as well as the challenge of having to work within the constraints of time and budget. We also explore the role data plays in decision-making, and how quickly the branding situation can be changed if the numbers just don’t match up.


(0:05:46) - The Impact of Sonic Branding

Jack talks about the pandemic and how it changed the sonic branding game with the explosion of podcasts, remote work, and TikTok. “For us,” he explains, “like, we now have a whole arm that does audio post, and I would say 85% to 90% is remote, is done through Zoom calls.” We explore the importance of understanding the brand and deciding whether voices or music matter most in branding. We also discuss the importance of negotiating payment and licenses for sonic branding, and what factors can make it important for a company to own its own audio resources.


(0:15:52) - AI, Remote Work, and Social Media Impacts

We take a closer look at the implications of artificial intelligence on audio branding. Who holds the intellectual property rights of creative works that are generated by AI? How are the tools used to create them improving? We explore the power of social media and branding on short-form media outlets like TikTok and YouTube Shorts, and the rise of influencer musicians, and we reflect on the hustle of audio production and how building relationships with agencies is more important than ever. “Now it’s like, you need to have two or three hundred people that trust you,” he says, “and this stuff’s happening in a matter of hours in many cases, and it’s just, all that stuff has changed. And it will continue to [change]. It’s never going to go back to be the way that it was”


(0:28:11) - Finding the Right Audio Service

As our conversation comes to a close, we also touch on some of the different audio services out there, such as Riverside FM, Squadcast, and Zoom and, Jack tells us about some of the different audio projects he’s working on, such as DraftKings, Craftsmen, and Planters, as sonic branding continues to evolve and change the industry. “I think that I’m starting to see that now,” Jack explains, “where, instead of getting the like, hey, we’re doing this little thing, they’re coming in saying, ‘okay, we’re going to try this bigger thing, we’re doing a campaign,’ or where you know, this brand’s been thinking about this for a year, but now they really want to go ahead and do this thing. So it’s exciting.”


Episode Summary

  • Audio branding is a craft, one that’s often constrained by time and data-driven decisions.
  • How the pandemic changed audio and the importance of understanding your brand.
  • AI’s impact on audio branding, social media branding, and influencer musicians.
  • We discuss online audio resources and Jack’s latest sonic branding projects.


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