30 March, 2007

Gratitude with a twist

They say that all publicity is good publicity, and I am overwhelmed with the huge interest that the book has been creating in all media. Radio in particular has loved it - natural I guess for a story all about sound. I'm grateful for the skill and intelligence with which the various media have grasped and conveyed the basic proposition - that sound is massively powerful; that most of the sound we encounter is undesigned and a lot of it is inappropriate; and that there is as a result a huge opportunity for businesses that take control of their sound.

I enjoyed the live spot on Radio 5 Live's Wake Up To Money, despite the early start (the alarm went off at 4am). Then I sat in the Today Programme's Green Room for a couple of hours in case they wanted something live from me, though as it turned out they were very happy with what we'd recorded, and put together a great short report (you can hear it on the wikispace). I got to swap "Good Morning"s with John Humphries, the Chief Rabbi and several other eminences.

Today has an audience of six million, and the number of emails and further press inquiries I received during the following days underlined its impact. The Scotsman newspaper called and I did an interview about the Glasgow Airport soundscape which they ran on page 3 on the following day (Saturday March 24th); this led in turn to a spot on Radio Scotland's Fred McAuley Show, and to interest from The Guardian - more on that below. BBC Three Counties Radio wanted a telephone interview while I was still at Shepherd's Bush, and then Radio 2 called for a telephone interview during Chris Evans's Drivetime that evening. That was a long day!

The momentum continues... tonight (Friday 30th) I am going in to Bush House to do a 20-minute piece for BBC World Service, so the book goes global. Next Tuesday I'm meeting Time magazine, and Thursday evening I'll be back in a studio to talk to New York City's public radio service WNYC, chatting on their music/arts programme Soundcheck.

So far the only hiccup has been the unfortunate misrepresentation in The Guardian leader, which said that I wanted to fill the world with 'soothing lounge Muzak'. This is diammetrically opposed to my view, and to the thesis of the book, which is that every space's soundscape should be individually designed to suit the acoustics, the function, the brand or values behind the space, and most of all the people in it. One size does not fit all - musically or otherwise. It's not surprising that my purported view came in for some stick in the online comments. I do understand the passionate stance of the members of Pipe Down and the other anti-piped music lobby groups. On the other hand, it's equally wrong to say that music is never the right soundscape. Miss Selfridge could spent lots of money with The Sound Agency and after careful consideration I am certain that our conclusion, based on psychoacoustic principles and our wonderful SoundFlow™ model, would be... play pop music!

I hope that the book will open up the debate and sensitise people, and that in a few years we will be hearing a vast range of designed soundscapes in spaces, all created thoughtfully and with as much care as the interior design was. What an interesting world that will be!

PS Muzak is a US corporation and the word muzak is their trademark, so we should avoid using it in discussing mindless piped music.

22 March, 2007

Welcome to radio listeners...

I spent some time this afternoon (Thursday) recording some examples of retail and office sound for BBC Radio 5 Live Wake Up To Money and BBC Radio 4 Today Programme. I'll be doing interviews for both in the morning to follow up on the recorded sound. If you're reading this after hearing the programme(s) then wlecome and I hope I got the main points across: that sound affects human beings profoundly, and that business has a huge opportunity if it takes control of its sound and starts to create sounds and soundscapes that are properly designed, appropriate and effective. This is true for branding, marketing, advertising, websites, telephone communication and for physical spaces such as offices, shops and reception areas.

My experience is that when people become conscious about sound after I talk to them, their ears are opened and they can't help but practice active listening. If that's just happened to you through the radio programme, the downside is that you will notice every chiller cabinet and air conditioning unit that you used to suppress - but the upside is that you'll become aware of many wonderful sounds you didn't notice, and that you'll become conscious about your own sound and that of your business, which means you can start to do something about them!

Please do visit the wiki and the lens and contribute content. I look forward to hearing from you.

15 March, 2007

Working Lunch

You can see my appearance on BBC2's Working Lunch here if you are in the UK and you have Real Player - I think it may also work with WMP - or on YouTube here.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself, as I have every time I've done TV. Nik and Adam were very nice and understood the proposition perfectly. I wish I'd been able to mention the book and the website but they cautioned against plugging so I hope people who are interested will find the resources through Google.

Meanwhile I've finished the wiki (for now at least) and I've been adding lots of content to the Squidoo lens - please do visit them and bookmark them. You are warmly welcome and invited to contribute to both.

13 March, 2007

A big week

Media interest in the book is strong and we haven't even sent out the press release yet. There will be a piece in Brand Management magazine next month and I am looking forward to BBC Working Lunch which is confirmed for tomorrow (Wednesday). I hope to receive the first proof copy of the book today, which will be a great moment.

I have been populating the wikispace with some extracts from the book and will have completed this by the end of today. I'll be posting some on Ecademy later today as discussion topics, probably including shop music, office noise and the best and worst sounding restaurant.

08 March, 2007

Welcome to the Sound Business blog

This blog will contain posts from me as extensions to the topics covered in my book, Sound Business, which is published on March 21st.

This is my first blog, so forgive any newbie errors - I welcome any tips - and please bear with me as there's a lot of exciting stuff going on around the book launch right now. I am appearing on BBC Working Lunch next week, probably Wednesday, and more media will follow...

Meanwhile there are some other web resources you can check out: I've set up a wikispace for interaction, discussion and file posting, a lens for other forms of interaction like sharing links and voting, and a shop selling merchandise with the slogan 'sound affects!', which I hope will help move us towards the big vision - making the world sound better.

Sound Business also has a central web page with links to all these resources (and to this blog).

The book is about how sound affects people, and how organisations can become conscious about their sound, producing better results by creating appropriate, designed and pleasant soundscapes everywhere from shops and offices to toilets, receptions and websites. It's available here.

I'll be posting lots more here in the very near future... please bookmark and come back!