Music Business

Sonic branding predictions for 2023

The executives of Made Music Studio look back at 2022

and make predictions about the future of the audio industry in the year ahead.

by President Lauren McGuire & Executive Creative Director Amy Crawford of Made Music Studio

Lauren McGuire, President

This past year was a big one for sonic branding. We saw brands across a number of industries turning to sonic identities for the first time, as more brands recognize the importance of using sound to stand out, especially in an increasingly audio-first world. According to Made Music Studio’s research, ​​ we found a 22% jump in brands launching audio identities for the very first time in 2021, with an even larger increase in 2022. 

Amy Crawford, Executive Director

We believe sonic branding is just getting started. We predict that by 2025, a majority of major brands will have a sonic identity, led by digital, social, and streaming needs. But how brands use those identities can mean all the difference between a successful emotional connection between consumers and brands or just another advertising ad-on. As podcasts, streaming, immersive experiences, Web3 and AI become more commonplace in the marketing toolkit, sound will play an important role in how brands differentiate themselves and connect with audiences across all platforms. 

AI will play a significant role in the future of sound

We asked some of the execs at Made Music Studio to look into their crystal ball (crystal microphone?) to predict what 2023 will bring for sonic branding. Here are some of the key takeaways.

We expect AI to support a number of outputs involving sound and brand voice. Using AI, brands may be able to develop Brand Voices that act as on-call talent, adding another element of brand owned IP to their toolbox. These voices will first be used in social and digital or metaverse activations, but with increasing sophistication move into advertising voice overs and internal campaigns. 

However, AI voices and personas must be designed with belonging, dignity and justice in mind. Brands will need to take care to be representative in voice and not fall into stereotypes as FN Meka, the first AI-generated rapper, has been accused of doing. 

AI powered music tools will continue to grow in popularity. (An artist used BandLab to generate a song that peaked at No. 45 on the Billboard Hot 100 this year!). In parallel, the discussions around intellectual property and copyright infringement will continue to heat up as AI tools in creativity become more than thought experiments – and the musical output from AI tools creeps into the marketplace (spoiler alert – it’s already there).

 The Sonic Metaverse

We are already seeing how sound and music is a big part of Web3, and expect major entertainment properties will continue to be created with Web3 components, with gaming and NFTs just the start before expanding into television and video. Thematic music and sound will play a critical role in creating emotional connection and speaking to those fandoms across properties. 

The metaverse will expand in appeal beyond the Roblox demographic and attract users of all generations. This may be driven by the new Meta Quest Pro and the rumors percolating about Apple releasing a mixed-reality headset in early 2023. WIth more users dabbling in the metaverse, will a new chapter of experience design be started in terms of look, feel, sound and immersiveness? 

Personifying Technology

As robotics, electric vehicles and new products become more the norm, creating a human persona of these tools will become more and more critical to increase human comfort and connectivity to the technology. Because persona comes from behavior and sound, these critical personality builders will be considered earlier and earlier in creation and will receive extensive testing. 

Spatialized Audio

Spatialized audio, bringing truly immersive 360 degree surround sound to life, will continue to enhance our experiences IRL, through headphones and virtually. We expect spatial audio to become much more prevalent as brands like Apple continue to invest in VR gear, Apple Music and their spatial headphones, as well as through broader mobile adoption. 

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