Stephen Arnold Music is launching "Locals Only," a customized music service that local stations can acquire for a price that's equivalent to what stations pay for syndicated music packages, according to Chad Cook, Stephen Arnold's creative director, and Stephen Arnold, the service's president, founder and namesake.
Stations that subscribe to the package get a core, customized "sonic brand," comprised of a few carefully-selected notes that distinguish the station and its local news productions, much like the NBC chimes characterize NBC. Once that sonic brand is established, Stephen Arnold Music will create a market-exclusive package, including at least 15 themes based on those notes, for that station. As more stations sign up for the service, each station gets access to all of those themes. Should more than one station in a market sign up for the service, those themes will go into a separate pool, so there could feasibly be a Locals Only A, Locals Only B, etc.
This service is different from typical syndicated music packages because it will be customized for stations, it will give them online access to other stations' themes over the Web, and all of the packages will be frequently updated, allowing stations to constantly refresh their own sound. Social media platforms such as blogs and forums that accompany the Locals Only Web site will allow the station executives to discuss what they like, what they don't, what they think should be changed and what they'd like to see added. Stephen Arnold also will take advantage of existing social media, posting updates and news about the service to Facebook and Twitter as well as to the Locals Only site.
"The concept that we've put together allows us to update and refresh these packages," says Cook. "Over a year or two that may be up to over 50 or 60 arrangements, including traditional elements, edgy elements, and progressive cuts. What gets overused and tired in many cases are the arrangements, but the notes shouldn't change because that's how you build a brand."
The service also will include other value-adds, including free ringtones for viewers based on a station's theme, and three one-minute versions of a song, called "This is Where I Live," around which stations can build local promotions.
Stephen Arnold Music has put together a similar concept for NBC Local Media's group of ten stations and has just recently launched an online music community for Nexstar's 40-plus stations.
More information is available at www.localnewsmusic.com.