The Evolution of Audio Branding: A Conversation with Jack Bradley – Part 1
“I would just play these crazy ‘80s drum beats and then I’d play on top of it and it was like the coolest thing ever. So it always became this really important thing to me too, and I couldn’t describe it in any way professionally at all. I mean, I was just a kid. But I was thinking about this like, I don’t know. I assumed some kids were, like, super into BMX bikes or something. Like, this was like my thing, and I think, again, that just really helped push me into that world.” — Jack Bradley
What does it take to craft the perfect sound that lingers in your mind long after you’ve seen an ad? This is a question veteran sound designer and HiFi Project CEO Jack Bradley, with over 25 years of experience in the content music and audio industry, has dedicated his career to answering. In this episode, “The Evolution of Audio Branding: A Conversation with Jack Bradley – Part 1” we explore the intricacies of audio branding and uncover the latest industry trends and the power of sound in shaping viewer’s perceptions. Jack takes us behind the scenes, revealing the technical process involved in sound design, from session booking to mastering such resources as Pro Tools. As the audio landscape continues to evolve, we delve into the shift from creating to curating as well as the expanding market for custom music for campaigns. We also discuss the implications of using non-exclusive music and the importance of creating unique content.
Our discussion also explores the role of sound in TikTok advertising and how the emergence of social media platforms has transformed sound design. Jack provides invaluable insights into creating short, impactful tracks for a variety of online platforms. From seven-second spots to fifteen-second TikToks, learn how he has successfully crafted effective soundtracks for various campaigns. If you want to learn more about what sort of audio goes into creating a great ad campaign, stay tuned.
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(0:00:00) – The Power of Sound in Advertising
As we start the episode, Jack shares his personal journey into the field of production, drawing upon his mother’s passion for the piano and how it helped shape his love of music, as well as classic cartoons like Bug Bunny’s “Rhapsody Rabbit” that first introduced him to classical composers. “They used a ton of it,” Jack recalls from his childhood, “and why not? It was public domain, and they had access to it. I know that there’s a ton of literature out there that talks about the power of Looney Tunes and Warner Brothers and using classical music, but that one, in particular, has always stuck to me.”
(0:09:01) – Early Inspiration for Music
Jack also shares his passion for analog synth music of the 1980s and how it made a lasting impression on him. “Especially the very thematic stuff that was happening,” he explains. “The theme from Knight Rider or like Tangerine Dream and I remember the theme from Street Hawk. I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever heard.” He shares how ’80s synthwave music led to his first drum machine and making his own electronic music. “At the time,” Jack recalls, “it was just like I just wanted drums and there really wasn’t a way to play drums on the keyboard. So I had this drum machine.”
(0:17:38) – Audio Branding and Changing Trends
The conversation turns to Jack’s experience working with an audio company and the invaluable lessons he learned from being in different sessions. We discuss the technical aspects of sound design, from booking a session to understanding the complexities of Pro Tools. We also explore how Jack’s experience with sound design has impacted his current approach to music production. “I can talk about it mostly through the lens of music,” he explains, “because that’s 90% of what my company does, but then I can definitely talk about the audio post thing too, especially more recently. But in terms of music and music for branding and music, it changed so much because when I first started.”
(0:21:41) – Music Trends and Market Shift
Jack and I discuss how access and quality of stock music improved drastically due to the 2008 recession, and how the influx of music streaming services led to a shift in mindset from creating to curating. We explore the market for creating custom music for campaigns, and the pros and cons of using music from non-exclusive libraries. Jack shares the importance of creating exclusive content that can’t be found anywhere else. “You could be this brand,” he explains, “and put your commercial out and then three days later here the same piece of music on somebody else’s commercial.”
(0:29:11) – Sound’s Role in TikTok Advertising
We also explore how the rise of TikTok and other social media platforms has led to a shift in sound design and the importance of creating short, impactful tracks for a variety of platforms. From seven-second spots to 15-second TikToks, Jack shares his experience of creating music for brands and how he has been able to create effective soundtracks for various campaigns. We also discuss how access to stock music has improved due to the pandemic and streaming services, and how these changes have allowed for more freedom when it comes to sound design. “TikTok,” Jack says, “at the end of the day, is really just like a media outlet, right? That’s user-generated. Or, in this case, it’s brand entertainment. So if the brand’s doing their job right, a 15-second TikTok doesn’t look like an ad at all.”
- We discuss audio branding, storytelling, and creating powerful connections.
- How Jack’s childhood was shaped by classic cartoons, jazz piano, and ’80s synthwave.
- Jack shares his sound design experience and social media’s impact on music.
- We talk about stock music, streaming services, and creating custom music.
- Jack and I discuss how TikTok has helped transform audio design and branding.
Tune in next week as we take a deeper dive into the thorny questions artificial intelligence is already raising within the creative industry, how the pandemic helped create an audio ecosystem unlike anything we’ve heard before, and some of the best online audio editing resources.
Connect with the Guest
Connect with Jack Bradley on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jackbradley2112/
Follow Jack Bradley on Facebook: https://twitter.com/jackbradley2112/
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This interview episode was very skillfully made to sound beautiful by the talented Humberto Franco.