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SoundOut and Goldsmiths, University of London to map the subconscious emotional impact of music

Updated: Jan 20, 2022

SoundOut and Goldsmiths, University of London to map the subconscious emotional impact of music
SoundOut and Goldsmiths, University of London to map the subconscious emotional impact of music

Reading, United Kingdom, April 7, 2021 - SoundOut, the world’s leading sonic branding testing company, in partnership with Goldsmiths, University of London, has received backing from UK Research and Innovation's Smart ‘open grant funding programme’. The funds will be used for an ambitious £400,000 project to map the subconscious emotional impact that sonic branding and marketing has on consumers. With up to 95% of purchase decisions being directed by subconscious, this will deliver vital and valuable insights for music strategists and marketeers worldwide.

The project will create a world-first - an emotional DNA map of the implicit impact of music against over 200 personality attributes. In addition, SoundOut will test propensity to buy (again implicitly) to be able to measure the subconscious impact of music on a consumer’s likelihood to buy from the brand. Finally, the project will create a commercial tool that will accurately predict the implicit impact any new piece of music will have with commercial branding.

The funding will be used to generate a huge body of data from over 500,000 consumers, measuring their subconscious reactions to hundreds of different musical compositions. The project brings together state of the art scientific approaches and music psychology, and will use advanced data science and machine learning to create the predictive tool.

David Courtier-Dutton, SoundOut Founder and CEO, said: “It is great news that the UK Government has recognised our world-leading credentials and backed us to further extend our world leading capabilities in the commercial application of music in branding and advertising”.

Several leading sonic branding agencies from around the world have also agreed to collaborate on the project, to provide the hundreds of original music compositions required for the testing/calibration phase.

The unique outputs from the project will offer invaluable insights for brands and advertising agencies, enabling them to select music for branding and advertising that will trigger the desired subconscious emotional associations and response with consumers.

David Courtier-Dutton, SoundOut Founder and CEO, continued: “With the rapid growth of voice assistants and voice activated devices, music and voice are increasingly being recognised as a core brand asset that, used correctly, can help to build brand equity. Choosing the correct music (and voice) for any given brand execution has historically been highly subjective and this project will create an immensely powerful platform to bring rigour and objectivity to the entire sonic branding industry.”

Professor Daniel Müllensiefen, from the Music, Mind and Brain research group at Goldsmiths, University of London, supports the project as academic lead investigator. From his long experience as a music and advertising consultant, he considers this project to be a unique opportunity for the industry. He said: “For many years academia has been far ahead of industry in understanding the psychology of music and its impact on consumer behaviour. We are delighted to have secured this grant from UK Research and Innovation, against stiff competition. The grant represents a unique opportunity to conduct research of a size and breadth that will not only add significantly to academic knowledge on consumer behaviour but will also add meaningful commercial value to brands and agencies worldwide.”

MassiveMusic, one of the leading creative music agencies in the world, said: “We are very excited about being able to identify conclusively the subconscious impact of music on a consumers likelihood to buy. The importance of sonic branding and marketing is growing exponentially and SoundOut is already regarded as the research world leader in this field. The sector is always seeking new tools and approaches rooted in science to improve effectiveness in advertising. This project is not only ground-breaking for SoundOut and Goldsmiths but will be welcomed by the wider industry to help benchmark and quantify the value of the sonic brand assets we create for clients worldwide.”

Notes to editors:

About SoundOut

SoundOut is the world leader in strategic sonic branding and marketing testing. It works with many of the most iconic brands in the world as well as all the major record labels. With over 12 years experience in music and voice testing, SoundOut specialises in helping organisations match brand personality and attributes to music. SoundOut also helps marketing teams select music that not only triggers the right consumer response to a marketing campaign, but also stays true to the core brand personality. SoundOut works closely with academia to ensure that the latest advances in music psychology find application in the commercial sphere. With its wholly-owned consumer panel of over 3.5 million people, and access to a further 80 million consumers worldwide, SoundOut offers an unrivalled global testing capability. Website:

About Goldsmiths, University of London

Founded in 1891, Goldsmiths, University of London is an institution with a rich academic history, known for its creative approach. Its 10,000 students are based on campus in the heart of south east London's New Cross community, studying undergraduate, postgraduate, teacher training and return-to-study courses in the arts and humanities, social sciences, law, cultural studies, computing, and entrepreneurial business and management.

Goldsmiths research shapes the future, changes lives and is at the forefront of creative practice, with almost three-quarters of research rated internationally excellent or world-leading by the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. Eight winners of the Turner Prize – and almost a quarter of those shortlisted for the award since it began – have been Goldsmiths graduates or staff, while others have gone on to receive Oscars, Mercury Music prizes, Ivor Novellos and BAFTAS.

UK Research and Innovation

UK Research and Innovation is a new organisation that brings together the UK Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England into a single organisation to create the best environment for research and innovation to flourish. The vision is to ensure the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. For more information visit

Contact: Grace Hammond,


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