You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Songs for Screens: How a Solange Synch Helped Sonos License Iconic Album Art

Sonos’ new campaign for its Move speaker marks a few milestones for the home audio company. Not only is Move the first portable product in the Sonos portfolio, but its campaign assets will feature rare licensed appearances of artwork from iconic albums by Outkast, Radiohead and David Bowie, among many other artists. The campaign will appear in digital TV, social, display, print and out-of-home media over the coming months, with different iterations rolling out highlighting other iconic album artwork. (Frank Ocean, Robyn and Chemical Brothers are among those still forthcoming.)

How did Brian Beck, Sonos’ global head of music, secure such revered real estate? With a little help from Solange, whose latest single “Binz” serves as the first commercial’s soundtrack. “Music plays such a paramount role in the Sonos experience,” says Beck of his supervision strategy. “It’s the way we introduce new products to the world from launch events to campaigns, retail displays and more. It’s important we always live up to that in the way we bring artists and their work into our creative process.”

Beck first approached Solange’s team after the singer was seen dancing with her PLAY:5 Sonos speakers in the homemade official video for “Binz” back in March, which opened the door for a larger-scale relationship. “We had just licensed her album cover for print and [out-of-home advertising], so it felt like the natural fit to highlight that song,” Beck says.

Securing Solange, who keeps her partnership roster tight (American Express, Apple and Levi’s are among the handful of companies she’s worked with in the past two years) served as a linchpin for getting other commercial-sensitive artists onboard. “We wanted to include a number of legendary album covers from incredible artists that don’t usually work with brands (i.e., Radiohead, Frank Ocean, etc.), [so] having Solange on board early helped give a strong start to those conversations right out of the gate,” Beck says.

“Binz” isn’t the only taste-making track featured in Move’s launch campaign. Karen O & Danger Mouse’s “Woman” is the focus track for the product’s reveal film, while “Slip” by emerging UK artist AMA is played at the end of a demo clip showcasing all the different conditions the Move can weather in a variety of environments.


Everything we do is about creating the best sound experiences, so we’re always looking for songs that have high production value and are also culturally relevant and inspiring,” says Beck. “We created a list of over 100 songs for Move to start and from there, we narrowed it down based on a number of things like pacing and lyrics. ‘Woman,’ for example, combines Karen O’s iconic voice with the strength of production from Danger Mouse. There’s also a lyric in the song that says, ‘Then you take it…’ This is naturally connected to Move because you can take it anywhere.”

Songs for Screens is a Variety column sponsored by music experiential agency MAC Presents, based in NYC. It is written by Andrew Hampp, founder of music marketing consultancy 1803 LLC and former correspondent for Billboard. Each week, the column highlights noteworthy use of music in advertising and marketing campaigns, as well as film and TV. Follow Andrew on Twitter at @ahampp.

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • U2, Seattle 14 May 2017

    U2 to Finish 'Joshua Tree' 2019 Tour With Band's First Gig in India

    U2 is wrapping up its 2019 “The Joshua Tree” tour with a concert at Mumbai’s DY Patil Stadium, on Dec. 15 – the first time the group will have performed in India. The newly added date comes at the end of an Asia-Pacific tour that was announced months ago. The tour is a continuation of [...]

  • Crime Placeholder

    Former AEG, First Access Exec Adam Lublin Charged With Sexual Abuse, Burglary

    Adam Lublin, a former executive at AEG and First Access Entertainment, was arraigned Monday morning in Manhattan Criminal Court on two counts of burglary and one count of sexual abuse, according to the New York Post. The executive allegedly snuck into a neighbor’s apartment, sexually abused her and stole her undergarments. According to the report, [...]

  • Kendrick Lamar House Manhattan Beach

    Kendrick Lamar Drops Nearly $10 Million on Manhattan Beach Mansion

    When he’s not performing to packed arenas worldwide — the international “Damn” tour wrapped up last year with over $62 million in gross receipts — Kendrick Lamar has long resided in L.A.’s South Bay region, specifically in the posh seaside city of Manhattan Beach. And after a reported long spell as an area home renter, [...]

  • Benjamin Wallfisch - scoring session, Abbey

    Composer Benjamin Wallfisch Signs With Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency

    Composer Benjamin Wallfisch has signed with the Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency (GSA) for worldwide representation, in partnership with London-based agency COOL Music Ltd. A top composer, whose scoring credits include “It Chapter Two,” Shazam!” Hellboy,” “Hidden Figures” and “Hostile Planet,” among others, Wallfisch has worked on over 75 feature films and is a member of the BAFTA [...]

  • Spotify logo is presented on a

    Spotify VP Paul Vogel Talks Subscription Prices, Label Licenses, Podcasts

    The annual Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference gives representatives from major companies the opportunity to present to the investment community, and Paul Vogel, Spotify’s VP and head of financial planning & analysis, treasury and investor relations, spoke on the streaming giant’s behalf on Tuesday morning. While many of his comments were statements frequently heard in the [...]

  • Def Jam, Astralwerks Launch Label Divisions

    Def Jam, Astralwerks Launch Label Divisions in South East Asia

    Universal Music Group today announced what it calls a significant expansion of its recorded music operations across South East Asia with the launch of two new label divisions: Def Jam South East Asia, to focus on the hip-hop scene within the region, and Astralwerks Asia, a label “with a true focus on nurturing talent within Asia across [...]

  • WME Nashville Promotes Becky Gardenhire to

    WME Nashville Promotes Becky Gardenhire to Co-Head

    Becky Gardenhire has been elevated by WME to the role of co-head of the Nashville office, making her the woman holding the highest rank at any agency rooted in the city. Gardenhire joins three other co-heads of WME Nashville, Scott Clayton, Joey Lee and Jay Williams. While Nashville agencies have been caught up in a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content