Brands employ music and sound to tell a story, connect with people on a more profound level, and ultimately, gain customer loyalty (and certainly, a boost in sales doesn’t hurt!). Increasingly, the sophisticated use of musical collaborations, technology, and savvy marketing basics blur the lines between branding and entertainment.

First and foremost, brands use music as a storytelling tool—in these cases, Activia promoting healthy children in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup, or the inimitable sounds of GE machinery—and partnerships with big-name musicians expose your brand to a bigger audience. Brands also use music as a visceral and emotional bridge to the audience; you’ll see in the second video a sound manipulation technique called looping, which works to riveting effect.

Some brands go above and beyond with music by creating a joyful experience for the customer. From something as simple as altering a scan at a grocery store checkout to creating a luxurious, immersive theatrical experience in the heart of London, these two big brands harness the power of music in making an indelible impression.

Music also plays an integral part of engaging an audience—an important and seemingly Sisyphean challenge when you’re creating an airline safety video. Alaska Airlines, however, created a high-energy video of song and dance so entertaining it has been viewed on YouTube over 11 million times since October 2013.

Image courtesy of Alaska Airlines.

Sound and music connect deeply and directly to our emotions, a fact harnessed in every song, symphony and sonic moment. It also allows film- makers to access and dialogue with their audience at a deep emotional level, the most apparent of which is in Horror, where physiological Fight or Flight responses are “enjoyed” in the comfort of the movie theater.

When we’re not running from a real life menace, the ability to enjoy fear enables us to try new activities, to explore novel environments, and to be daredevils. In this infographic we’ll look at the weird and wonderful world of film and foley — the growls and screams and lightsaber swishes, how they are made and why they give you goosebumps.

Man Made Music’s sound may resonate globally but sometimes it seems we are speaking a language entirely our own. Below are terms we use to describe and define the work we do as a strategic music and sound studio. We use this vocabulary to keep the music and sound aligned with the strategy we develop and the sonic architecture’s we create clear and easy to implement.

Brand Anthem – The long-form musical hero piece of a brand’s sonic identity. It’s a theme that embodies the brand’s story and personality in a way that it could not be any other brand, and becomes the anchor for all of the brand’s sonic expression.

Brand Navigation Sounds® – Man Made Music’s proprietary approach to user experience sounds. Typically 2-3 seconds in length and used in digital environments, they intuitively provide guidance with functional and emotional feedback rooted in the brand’s sonic voice.

Music Supervision – The strategic curation, selection and placement of music that is on-brand and experience appropriate for media, spaces, call centers or live events.

Sonic Branding – The strategic use of music and sound to help brands better engage with their desired audiences, achieved through the use of proprietary and/or familiar sound and music that over time becomes increasingly associated with a brand in media and experience activations.

Sonic Identity – A brand’s proprietary sonic voice that conveys the brand story, enhances emotional connection and builds brand attribution. It seamlessly ties together touchpoints across communications, live and digital experiences.

Sonic Logo – The short-form expression of a brand’s sonic identity. Analogous to the visual logo, the sonic logo serves as an audio brand signature to convey meaning and personality, and heighten attribution.

Sonic Strategy – The strategic foundation for creating a unique and proprietary sonic identity, for curating on brand music, or activating music and sounds for specific brand communications or experience.

SonicPulse® Research – Man Made Music’s proprietary research methodology designed specifically to assess impact and effectiveness of music and sound in triggering emotion, sparking behavior, conveying meaning and improving brand metrics.

Voice Bank – A collection of recommended on-brand voice talent that align with a brand’s Sonic Strategy.

Why VR?

VR is the first wholly new form of media to emerge since 1910. Where film was about manipulating time, VR is about manipulating space and our place in it. All of a sudden we are in the movie (we have presence), and we are free to look and move around inside it the way we choose (we have agency). A whole new language needs to be written for the creators and users of VR, and a very key part of this vocabulary is sound.

Project Profile: D∆WN
The inter-galactic music video for iTunes’ #1 hit song by D∆WN, “Not Above That”


The Role of Sound in VR
In the vast majority of VR experiences, sound is 50% of the experience to be had, yet it conveys almost all the emotion. Sound has found an important role in the VR world: to lead the user’s attention towards something you want them to see that may be out of view (the human visual system sees only a 180º field of view, and just 114º of that in 3D.)

Project Profile: Red Bull at Night
A VR experience based on a live music event filmed in Los Angeles, re-creates the four-story art and music installation of “Circuitry of Life,” allowing users to move through and fully explore the space.


Man Made Music in VR
As long-time evangelists for the power of sound, Man Made Music embraced the sonic possibilities of the VR space early on, building partnerships with developers of new audio tools and creating unique workflows to enhance the sound & music component of VR experiences.

Project Profile: NBC Sports, Rio Olympics: 360º Tour of Rio
Experience Carnival and transport yourself to beautiful Rio de Janeiro. Explore Rio’s breathtaking sights along side Olympic athletes Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski. Get immersed in the culture and excitement of the host country for the Olympic Games.


Our Approach
Our long experience in creating meaningful & memorable music and sonic identities for entertainment, general market brands and physical spaces from stores to stadiums, finds a perfect home in the VR world.

  • Strategy is our foundation. Our development process begins with understanding the larger concept before moving into any creative development. What emotion do we want to evoke? What story are we telling?
  • We create spatialized, positional audio. We use ambisonic microphones to capture a ‘soundfield’, which together with detailed post-produced soundscapes can then be refined and manipulated to accurately represent a true-to-life, responsive sonic experience.
  • We then work with our clients to determine the ideal delivery platforms, whether GearVR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Google Cardboard and beyond, and facilitate integration of the necessary codecs.

Project Profile: A Brief History of Flight
We created an epic soundtrack to underscore the story of one of humankind’s greatest achievements, and a fully head-trackable 360º soundscape of historically accurate airplane sounds, to place the user at the heart of the world’s greatest airshow.


Featured Work

  • Studio Transcendent’s VR film “A Brief History of Flight”: This unique piece was nominated for the 2015 Proto Award for Best Educational VR Experience at the most recent VRLA Conference.
  • Applied VR’s “Pain RelieVR” app: A post-surgery VR experience currently being tested in hospitals in the US. Placed in the VR setting with a simple visual task-oriented game, patients experience as much as a 40% reduction in pain.
  • Our live-action pieces with SilVRthread challenge users to speed down a ski terrain park, go zip-lining or sailing. Throughout these journeys, the music and sound amplifies the thrill and the realism. So much so, that sometimes this happens!

We’re deliberately pushing the envelope to usher in a new kind of experience — Audio 3D experiences of space that are driven by sound and music, with all the meaning and emotionality they bring. The possibilities are endless and exciting.

New York, NY, May 13, 2015 – A commitment to excellence during the past year has earned Man Made Music (MMM) the recognition as a 2015 AT&T Supplier Award winner for its support of affiliates of AT&T*, one of the world’s leading service providers of advanced mobile services, next-generation TV, high-speed Internet and smart solutions for businesses.

“AT&T continues to give our customers the best products and services, with the help of our more than 5,000 suppliers.” said Susan A. Johnson, senior vice president, Global Supply Chain at AT&T. “Companies such as Man Made Music are committed to delighting customers, just like we are.”

Man Made Music was one of eight companies to receive the 2015 AT&T Supplier Award, honored for their work in cost savings, customer service, performance, team work, diversity supplier spend and supplier sustainability. And on April 30, AT&T recognized the winners’ contributions in an ad in the Wall Street Journal.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

It’s hard to put into words the impact of the perfect lyric, melody or contagious beat that moves you in an unexpected way. Authors, composers and artists have tried – and here we’ve rounded up our favorite quotes that help to begin forming structure around such an unspoken universal force. Which are most meaningful to you? If you had to sum up the power of music and sound in one sentence, what would you say?

1. “Where words fail, music speaks.” – Hans Christian Andersen

2. “Music begins where the possibilities of language end.” – Jean Sibelius

3. “Half of the storytelling ability is sound.” – Joe Herrington, Principal Media Designer for Disney parks in the Imagineering department

4. “It’s hard to put into words the impact of the perfect lyric, melody or contagious beat that moves you in an unexpected way. Authors, composers and artists have tried – and here we’ve rounded up our favorite quotes that help to begin forming structure around such an unspoken universal force. Which are most meaningful to you? If you had to sum up the power of music and sound in one sentence, what would you say?”A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.” – Leopold Stokowski

5. “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” – Victor Hugo

6. “Get rid of the shitty sound. Life’s too short.” – Hans Zimmer

7. “Music . . .  can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.” – Leonard Bernstein

8. “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” – Malala Yousafzai

9. “Music is the social act of communication among people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is.” – Malcom Arnold

10. “Music is organized sound.” – Edgard Varese

11. “Funny how a melody sounds like a memory.” – Eric Church

12. “If you talk to any director, they’ll say music is fifty percent of the movie.” – Hans Zimmer

13. “That’s the evergreen nature of a great song. They can be resurrected. They can be covered. They can find new relevance due to changing circumstances in history.” – John Legend

14. “There’s a very basic human, non-verbal aspect to our need to make music and use it as part of our human expression. It doesn’t have to do with body movements, it doesn’t have to do with articulation of a language, but with something spiritual.” – John Williams

15. “Music is the universal language of mankind.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

16. “Music is what feelings sound like.” – Author Unknown

17. “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” – Confucius

18. “A song will outlive all sermons in the memory.” – Henry Giles

19. “They should be covering their ears!” – Hans Zimmer

Man Made Music is proud to be part of television history. Our music served as the main theme, and underscore for big game moments, of Super Bowl XLIX, the most watched program in television history. Over 120 million tuned in and heard our music, which brought incredible energy to a stunning game, filled with lots of boom moments!

This year’s Super Bowl ads were all about brands using music and sound to pull on our heart strings and tell stories. Here are five of our favorites from this year’s spots.


It’s the music that sets up the gag perfectly. Those piano notes tell us bad things are happening to our connection to Kim Kardashian and our data.


Mindy Kaling and Van Halen make for a powerful combination.


Nothing can tug the heart strings like the childrens’ voices in this Dove ad.


Taking a Musicless Musicvideo cue, Geico dials up humor by exaggerating foley. Nothing like the bling of a ring to amplify absurdity.


Hundred Waters “Show Me Love” for Coca-Cola is unbeatable.

Bonus: Man Made Music was a part of the Super Bowl yet again. Watch below to experience the power of sound again:

We’re bringing a new dimension to #TBT (Throwback Thursday) with #TBTPlaylists. This week, our music supervisor Kristy Zeigler put together a playlist that represents some of the big hits and events of 1977.

With the death of Elvis Presley, the growth of the punk rock scene and disco reaching the mainstream, 1977 was a pivotal turning point in popular music. Studio 54 opened its doors for the first time (a brief 10 minute walk from the Man Made Music office), cassette sales were on the rise, and the Eagles’ “Hotel California” was at the top of the charts.

When the top 50 albums of the year worldwide include the likes of Elvis, Peter Gabriel, Bob Marley, Steely Dan, The Sex Pistols, Fleetwood Mac, Supertramp, John Williams (for Star Wars), Barbara Streisand, and AC/DC, you know it was an interesting year in music history, to say the least. Enjoy the mix as we take you back to ’77…

It’s been a whirlwind of a week for the launch of The Sonic Boom: How Sound Transforms The Way We Think, Feel, and Buy! Here’s a recap of the best of the best – it’s not too late to share and be a part of the movement.

TIME: “Harvest Boon: 7 Great Fall Books” by Eliza Gray and Claire Howorth

NPR: “From Sizzling Fajitas To The Super Bowl, How Sounds Help Sell”

Inc: “How to Use Sound to Define Your Brand” by Jill Krasny

Advertising Age: “What Does Your Brand Sound Like?” by Max Willens

BuzzFeed: “How Much Do Brands Control Your Brain?” by Julia Furlan

Mashable: “33 Musical Earworms You Can’t Escape” by MJ Franklin

Fast Company: “What Does Your Brand Sound Like?” by KC Ifeanyi

WIRED: “How the Super Bowl and Sizzling Fajitas Manipulate You With Sound” by Nick Stockton

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