Music Curation: Sourcing the Perfect Song

July 28, 2016

Creating the perfect sound for each of our brands doesn’t magically occur in an instant, or through an algorithm. It requires a team of people who work with labels to source new music, listen to tracks to identify their distinguishing features, and collaborate with each brand to curate their perfect sound.

 

Direct from the Source: Label Relations

Some members of our team focus on sourcing the right content for our brands, and work with thousands of record labels all over the world (and cull through even more songs) to cultivate our music library.

The most important aspect of building this library is our relationship with labels. These relationships enable us to be one step ahead—learning about new releases and up-and-coming artists.

We often have the unique opportunity to have label visits, where representatives stop by our office to play samples of an album (sometimes even sharing work that hasn’t yet been mastered) or to provide us with pre-releases months in advance of street-date.

And the labels appreciate sharing this information with us as well. When their artists are included in a branded playlist, it provides them with worldwide exposure.

Live Performances

Our partnerships with labels also enable us to bring artists into our offices, see them perform, and learn more about their music. Having the ability to meet artists in this environment allows us to get a much better feel for their music and the brand experiences they fit best, whether that be music overhead, a live in-store event, or sync licensing for a marketing campaign.

Events and Beyond

There are many other resources available to us as we work to stay on top of the trends in the music industry. With music blogs like Stereogum, Indie Shuffle, Remezcla, Pitchfork, and countless others, searching for songs from around the globe is made a bit easier, and we are able to source better content for our clients.

We review radio charts and industry periodicals to see what is trending. Some of our clients want to be on the forefront of the trends, playing the songs that are topping the charts, while others want to ensure that they have their own unique sound—enabling music discovery in their locations. This means it’s just as important for us to know what’s on the charts, as what isn’t on them.

The most fun research we do happens at music seminars and festivals. You will often find members of our team at seminars like CMJ, SXSW, and LAMC to find the next artist who will make an impact in today’s music world. Other times, we’re attending music festivals like Outside Lands, Primavera Sound, and Glastonbury, and even sponsor festivals such as Decibel to get real-time insight into the audiences and performers themselves.

“ The collective wealth of experience and knowledge available across the music supervision team is an asset that benefits each brand.  ”

The Power of a Team

In addition to their individual insights, music supervisors collaborate on ideas and share their knowledge when needed. The collective wealth of experience and knowledge available across the music supervision team is an asset that benefits each brand.

Let’s say you’re up against a deadline to deliver a customized playlist for a store opening. And the rotation not only needs to align with the store’s brand identity but also contain 300+ songs and 100+ unique artists, multiple genres and more music than many of today’s radio stations have in rotation altogether. What do you do? This is where the power of a team comes in to help round out that branded sound—with touches of Spanish-language pop, or down-tempo ethereal electronica—for this request.

Why it Matters

When you’re helping determine a global brand sound, the care taken to curate should be the same as you have put into the other aspects of the brand.

A true, branded sonic identity goes further than popularity, and music supervisors sift through even the most obscure artists to find the perfect fit. Our team at PlayNetwork has the relationships, methods, and depth and breadth of experience to perfect a brand sound, with expertise in all genres of music—from Latin to jazz, classical to electronica, country to rock, and everything in between.

About PlayNetwork

PlayNetwork is the leading global provider of music and entertainment media experiences for brands worldwide. We partner with over 400 brands spanning 110,000 customer locations in more than 110 countries, our work reaching 100 million people every day. This post is a part of our series: Crafting a Branded Sound: How Music is Chosen for the World’s Favorite Brands. To learn more about PlayNetwork, visit www.PlayNetwork.com

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