mute buttons, dog whistles, music libraries

Recent links associated with "Sounds of Brands / Brands of Sounds" research

There’s a new side project, or side blog, over at As noted here on July 6, it’s a collection of lightly annotated links associated with a class I’m teaching this fall at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, titled “Sounds of Brands / Brands of Sounds.” There was a period shortly after the launch of the site when I thought about dispensing with it, and just collecting that material here on But then I decided otherwise. Though much of the material makes sense on, much of it would be significantly tangential, so for the time being I think I’ll just create standalone posts here on occasion, maybe once a week or twice a month, that link through to highlighted posts from the Tumblr site.

Recent posts include controversy over mute buttons on video ads at gas-station pumps, the concept of the “ad hit” (a band’s song that is perceived a hit as an ad, not simply because of an ad), an article in The Believer by Lindsay Zoladz on the concept of the music library (broadly defined as the clip art archive of sound), a BBC history of the music library, thoughts on a video of Paul Weller of the Jam playing on the stage of a clothing store in New York on the site of what had been CBGB, the question of whether the playlist is the new jingle (in light of an announcement by Spotify, the music-streaming service, that it will develop recommended listening collated by large-scale brands), a condom manufacturer’s attempt to quasi-scientifically determine the best song for a couple, Audi’s development of car noises for its silent cars, commercials that reportedly contain sounds only dogs can hear, visualizations of surround-sound theaters, and a contest to develop a “mnemonic sound.”

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