To ensure that all bases are covered on clients’ musical preferences, the Music Design team represents a broad range of musical specialties and interests. Ideally, each designer is assigned Core and Custom programs based on individual expertise; however, brand fluctuations and stylistic developments reliably complicate this process.

Here are a few examples… First, a recently re-branded client of mine that long used laid-back Caribbean and Latin music (my specialty) asked to increase the overall tempo of their sound and to incorporate Top 40 dance and country pop (not my specialty) in order to court the Millennial demographic. Another client, this one brand-new, requested three dayparts (Morning, Afternoon, and Evening) which share and contain styles within my comfort zone but which are also distinguished by “outliers” like pops marches and mid-century Broadway hits. Finally, and more generally speaking, the ongoing emergence of new genres and trends renders all designers rapt beginners at various points, ensuring that we never become entrenched within “seasoned pro” status and serving as a refreshing reminder of why we do what we do in the first place.

Adding new music to a program that is outside of one’s area of expertise naturally requires research, but this can be expedited by drawing upon the knowledge base of other designers who can fill the gaps within your own. Conversations in our offices often consist of one designer asking another about the particulars of one of his programs, promo CDs she just received, or programming recommendations for a certain genre. We also regularly peruse each other’s program playlists for ideas, as I’ve done with Trevor Pronga’s Metro and Randy Schläger’s Riviera Discothèque Core programs. Much like educators who know the best sources toward which to steer their students, Music Designers direct each other to record labels, songs, and artists when we feel like we are out of our depth on a style request, allowing us to save time and access the best tracks for a concept as quickly as possible.

Thus, while we are each responsible for a contrasting set of Custom and Core programs, and function as point-people for types of music and brand experiences, it would be incorrect to conclude that we work autonomously, like freelancers. Teamwork is a crucial ingredient to our individual success, translating to company-wide profitability and longevity.

– Submitted by Amy Frishkey, Music Design