The use of sound in digital

It still seems to me that still one of the most untapped senses when looking at digital advertising is sound, especially as more and more people hook their computers up to stereo systems and invest in fancy headphones. It is interesting that in his essay in our book, Digital Advertising: Past, Present, and Future, that very few of Rafa’s examples of great sound in digital (e.g. ‘Ashes and Snow’, Messa di Voce and Flow), are actually advertising related. In fact when the Social’s were asked what they favourite use of sound is in advertising, most of them actually cited Rafa’s own piece for the band Labuat:

Sound In Digital Advertising from Creative Social on Vimeo.

And for me it is not coincidence that the piece people cited was for a music track as it seems to me that the music industry has been far more innovative in their use of digital to support music than advertising has been to use sound to support its digital. Hopefully the power of the 5th sense, sound, will be given more prominence in future digital advertising and if you are considering to use sound yourself, then you might find these tips on Sound Production from Rafa handy:

Top Tips For Sound Production
• Spend time on sound. The most normal thing is to leave the sound part until the end. If you think of the audio as a key creative element, productions will gain in quality all round.
• Use good effects. Very often I see work in which there has been a lot of investment in photography or illustration, but the sound is really weak. If you want something that is high quality, the sound must be high quality; this is often not the case with free effects on the internet.
• Design original sounds. Just as in art management, you can copy or you can start from scratch with a distinctive personality. In 1985 Koji Kondo created a unique sound for Super Mario, which is still being used today.
• Dispense with loops. If you use musical loops, at least make them very long. The best thing is to generate melodies based on mutually compatible musical scales.
• Work with professionals. In the same way that a photographer will take a better photo, a musician’s experience is vital if you want to produce a high-quality proposal.
• Be subtle. Silence is the equivalent of blank space in art management. If there are too many elements, you simply can’t see the woods for the trees. The same is true for sound.

In the meantime here are some of the most interesting uses of digital by music artists:

Best of the ‘Digital’ Music Videos

Pet Shop Boys Integral
Utilized QR codes in their video which linked viewers directly to on-line content about issues of civil liberties:

Arcade Fire – Neon Bible

Arcade Fire’s very simple but simply brilliant interactive music video.

RadioHead’s House of Cards

In Radiohead’s video for “House of Cards”, no cameras or lights were used. Instead, 3D plotting technologies collected information about the shapes and relative distances of objects. The video was created entirely with visualizations of that data.

Arcade Fire – Wilderness Down

Fantastic follow up to Neon Bible. Allows you to produce a highly personalized music video using Google Maps (and uses HTML 5). The only limitation is that you need to run it on Google Chrome

Robyn – Killing Me
A 3d interactive music video which pulls in discussin from twitter where #killingme has been used.

Lissie – Weather

The music video changes according to the weather at your location.

Sour’s Mirror

Experience the personalised version here

The Streets – Computers and Blues
An interactive Youtube music video experience:

Craig Wedren – Are We?
A 360 degree interactive video

And finally, if you enjoyed Thom Yorke and Radiohead’s latest video (below) then play around with this player to get him to dance to a number of tunes.

And for a fantastic video on how the Nine Inch nails embraced digital to change the whole business model, be sure to watch this:

And if you have not bought our book yet, go here to tweet for a free extract:

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