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Music Supervisors’ Best Songs of 2014

Another year means another deluge of music our Music Supervisors (also known as DJs/label owners/artists/rockstars) comb through; each week, hundreds of albums are given a spin to find the freshest tracks for the brands they curate for. Their collective audiophile escapades have been harnessed to create our best songs of 2014 list. We’re streaming these and more on our Top Songs of 2014 BrandRadio – just scroll down or click here to tune in.

MARK CAMPBELL :: Music Supervisor

Annie Lennox – “You Belong To Me”

On her third album of cover songs, Annie Lennox pays a visit to the world of the Great American Songbook. “You Belong To Me”, with its poignant lyrics of longing and heartache, fully exemplifies the album’s overall theme – a desire to come home again. Her vocals (solid and sincere) and the song’s arrangement deliver a stirring and contemporary take on a classic tune from America’s rich musical history.

SEAN HORTON :: Senior Music Supervisor / Music Strategy & […]

Hidden Pop Gems of 2014

Associate Music Supervisor Alex Ruder reviews and programs music for a small but diverse range of brands here at PlayNetwork. With extensive knowledge of the indie electronica and pop music landscape, he dials in on some of the year’s best undiscovered music.

Familiar big name pop acts such as Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea, Pharrell Williams, and Taylor Swift have largely dominated the charts this year. And while I can’t deny that these artists make some incredibly infectious tracks, there are plenty of artists making equally catchy tracks that haven’t quite caught the ears of millions yet. In my never-ending attempt to expose artists and songs that I feel are worth your ears’ attention, here are 10 pop songs from 2014 that you won’t find on Billboard’s or iTunes’ top charts or racking up multimillion views on YouTube:

[hover over song title for Alex’s commentary]

LIGHTS Brings “Little Machines” To PlayNetwork

As part of our PlayLive concert series, we bring exceptional, diverse, artistic talent to the PlayNetwork offices, exposing our Music Supervisors to new and up-and-coming artists from around the globe. Many of these artists are already playing in-store at your favorite retailers, while others are on the horizon of breaking. Much of what we do hinges on music discovery for our brands, turning them into tastemakers for their consumers.

Juno award-winning Canadian artist LIGHTS recently performed cuts from her latest release, “Little Machines”, at our Redmond headquarters. Lights blew onto the electropop scene in 2008 with her hit “Drive My Soul”, and her brand of gleaming, heartfelt pop music has continued to captivate fans around the globe.

“Running With The Boys” opened the set, with the kind of powerful chorus you’d expect to hear chanted in arenas. “Up We Go” showcases Light’s gorgeously fun vocals, only surpassed by her on-stage energy. Much has been said about Light’s road to rediscovery during the writing of “Little Machines” (she shared that the verse for “Muscle […]

Records, Vinyl, and Wax

Alex Espinosa, one of our veteran Music Supervisors in Seattle, shares why he still buys and collects music in, arguably, its most nostalgic form.

Records–as I like to call them–have been a big part of my life as long as I can remember. Ever since grabbing one of my older brothers’ Beatles records, hearing that distinctive cracking sound before the music started–it’s been a love affair still going strong today. You see, music is such a huge part of my life that I’ve made a career out of it for the past 25 years, and it all started with that first glance and that first feel of holding a record.

Some enthusiasts argue that the sound of a record playing is much richer and warmer than that of a compact disc; others like the simplicity of just downloading a song digitally from virtually any platform on the web. I, on the other hand, like to treat music like that of being in a relationship. I know it may […]

Film Review // 20,000 Days on Earth

Paul Wain, one of our Music Supervisors in EMEA, gives us a peek into the new film capturing Nick Cave’s 20,oooth day on earth…

20,000 Days On Earth is a documentary about the singer, writer & international cultural icon Nick Cave, by british artists Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard. Based around a fictitious 24 hours in Caves life (his 20,000th day on earth), the film features frank insights and intimate portrayal of the artistic process.

Based in his now adopted hometown of Brighton, an appointment with a psychoanalyst, lunch with collaborator Warren Ellis and a visit to the wonderfully reimagined Nick Cave Archive each offer their own insights into the man and his motivations, while a series of car journeys are given a dreamlike quality by various faces conjured from Cave’s past, including actor Ray Winstone and unlikely chart-friendly foil Kylie Minogue.

Around the midway point, “20,000 Days on Earth” starts getting more serious about the music, which is welcome. There are studio snippets of Cave and Ellis working out […]

Three Ways to Enhance Customer Loyalty Programs

Companies offer customer loyalty programs to encourage frequent purchases.  Outside of transactions, successful loyalty programs tend to focus on consistent engagement with customers.  In this video you will learn why it is important to have loyalty programs that consistently engage customers and three ways that branded entertainment media can make that happen.

 

To learn more about how branded entertainment media engages customers, visit our resource center or give us a shout!

Panel: Making Money In The Digital Space

Our resident Senior Music Supervisor, Sean Horton, is the founder of the long-running Decibel Festival here in Seattle – an expansive production highlighting electronic music performances, visual art, and new media. On the festival’s opening night last week, the Recording Academy Pacific Northwest Chapter kicked things off with a panel focusing on new ways for artists to make money through alternative revenue streams. From licensing to streaming to ad partnerships, experienced industry professionals covered how artists build both exposure and income through a variety of sources. Panelists included PlayNetwork’s music industry veteran John Wooler, the1175’s Jody McKinley, Jen Cziesler of Rogue Octopus, and Jeff Owens of Ghostly International.

Questions for the panelists ranged from talking about music piracy, the efforts to improve metadata delivery, and how artists and bands can create new revenue stream via the digital space.

Jen Cziesler discussed Synch Licensing and why it’s such a great opportunity for artists to cash in on film and TV placements. Of the ways music can be […]

UNDER MY NEEDLE

Here’s a look to what is consistently spinning under the needle of Music Procurement Associate Grady Tyree’s record player in 2014 so far…

 

Crosses – Crosses (Sumerian Records) – to say this was a highly anticipated release in my world was an understatement, any project that involves Deftones front man, Chino Moreno, will be a hotly sought after relic in my life.  So, when he paired up with friend, and fellow Sacramento native, Shaun Lopez, of the early ’00s band, Far, my attention was solely focused on what they were releasing, when they were releasing it, and how long I would have to wait to see them in the flesh – as this side-project blossomed into a real band with multiple releases and tour dates to follow. The album’s sound is a departure from anything you would naturally associate Chino – with it’s heavy-handed synth sound is more akin to the new wave post-punk sounds of the early-to-mid 80’s, not the heavy, gnashing riffs of his mainstay, […]

Brands Who Bumbershoot

PlayNetwork’s Marketing Coordinator Christy A. is a massive music fan and has attended every Bumbershoot since she moved to Seattle. She shares her brand + band highlights from this year’s festival experience.

Summer’s final beacon here in Seattle is the Bumbershoot festival, held every Labor Day weekend at Seattle Center. Bands large and small take over for three days of music discovery, comedy, and art. What caught my eye were brands large and small weaving their way into the festival experience, with plenty of opportunities for comfort, fun, and special perks as the weekend wore on.

PlayStation’s Road to Greatness touring truck greeted us at the main entrance, giving players the chance to test their skills at new and unreleased games, compete in live tournaments, and win prizes. Coca-Cola’s Share A Coke tour came to life with a custom kiosk, where we could personalize our own Coke mini cans with our first names. I’m not one for sipping soda all too often, but I had to […]

People at Play :: Craig Carman, National Sales Director

Our series, People at Play, highlights the creative minds who fuel PlayNetwork – a little bit of wisdom & insight, a little bit of rock & roll, straight from our teams.

Who :: Craig Carman

What :: National Sales Director

How :: For the past 20 I have been helping major brands in retail, food & beverage and hospitality enhance the customer experience through music, sound, video and scent.

1) You started working at PlayNetwork shortly after the company was founded in 1996. What was it like working at a small Seattle startup in the early 2000s?

In 1999, I was officially on-board the PlayNetwork team – my timing was impeccable, as there wasn’t room for any more people in the crammed office space located on the second floor of a small building under the Space Needle. After all, by this time they had continued to grow and now had 12 people working for the company.

When […]