Since the merger of DMX and Muzak with Mood in March 2013, some customers of these former companies have chosen to re-evaluate their options for music programming. With any corporate shake-up, clients seek to have their confidence restored. Under the Mood umbrella, DMX and Muzak have been able to expand their digital library of commercially licensed songs to the largest in the world, which is a great starting point for a convincing argument. However, the bottom line for retaining a client’s business, in many cases, is the camaraderie and trust between Music Designers and marketing pointpeople established over time and with persistence. It literally pays to check in with a client on a regular basis to ensure that they are pleased with their updates and the general direction of their program, and also to have discussions about new music reflective of their brand identity. These conversations should not be taken lightly: bonding over music is a tried-and-true way to “break the ice” between divergent cultures and social groups, and, as such, can serve as a sort-of primordial “glue” that strengthens the bonds in the designer-client relationship.

For a powerful portrayal of intercultural musical exchange, look no further than the 1999 documentary Genghis Blues, which details the friendship forged between blind Bay Area blues singer and guitarist Paul Pena (who wrote “Jet Airliner,” made famous by the Steve Miller Band, and who passed away in 2005) and the recently deceased exemplar of Tuvan throat-singing, Kongar-ol Ondar.  After picking up a performance on Radio Moscow via short-wave radio, Pena started to teach himself throat-singing (khöömei), in which the vocalist produces a drone note while simultaneously sounding a melody using the overtones of that note. Pena eventually made it to Tuva, a region in southern Siberia at the geographic center of Asia, and–with Ondar as his mentor and host–participated in a khöömei contest in which he placed first within the kargyraa (low overtone) division and won over the crowd with a performance of Tuvan and blues songs.

The lasting friendship between Pena and Ondar that followed Pena’s trip is echoed in the partnership between Premier Clients, in particular with their proven staying power, and the Senior Music Designers who have serviced them for years. Newer Music Designers can follow their example by taking the initiative with their current clients, conveying the enthusiasm for the choice cuts to which their musical and brand expertise has led them, and undertaking comprehensive research on brands, both on-site and off-site, in order to be able to deliver most fitting concepts for potential and re-contracting clients. In the event that a competitor unveils enticing pricing or song options, the inimitable personality, sense of care, and depth of knowledge provided by the Music Designer can go far in persuading a client to stick around.

– Submitted by Amy Frishkey, Music Design