Archives for posts with tag: weerthof

BRANDING_FM-poster-WORDPRESSYou walk into a jewelry store. What music would you expect to be playing? Same question, but now for a pie or DIY store. How does a bra or drinking a latte macchiato translate to music? 

Maybe you are pondering this for the very first time. But out there exists a whole industry around creating and imposing identities for brands and stores through music. It is used extensively by retail chains to give personality to their brand, to differentiate themselves from the competition and in trying to influence your behavior.

BRANDING_FM-schema-WORDPRESSUnder the moniker BRANDING FM I’m doing extensive field research, harassing marketing departments and delving into the theory of underlying mechanics – both cognitive music science and of the sales mumbo-jumbo kind. And I’m having a blast. I love music. Not only making it myself, but also how music affects the world. How specific sounds can trigger specific associations, how you can make people talk in a different cadence when subtly changing the background music, but also how a song will get a pair of jeans to give you the impression it will increase your chances at job interviews or at having intercourse.
// FYI: during ovulation women prefer more complex music
I devised a classification system in which I distilled the 6 most archetypal musical flavours in branding identity and how they relate to each other. And a bit further down you’ll find Retail Roulette, a playlist employing this system to turn every environment into a schizophrenic guessing game. // Or jump directly to it

The 3 outside categories

BRANDING_FM-quotes_KLEIN04Silence is golden – Retailers without in-store music are to be found at the low-budget and high end of the spectrum. Either stores like Kruidvat and Aldi that benefit from being seen as low-priced, because no music means no money spent on music branding strategies and licencing fees. Or exclusive brands that are too ‘classy’ or ‘authentic’ to be perceived as trying to influence behavior. Certain designer brands and jewelers for example.
     // Funny enough the Schaap & Citroen jewel store proudly plays deep house.

My Thang – When stores play music of their choice they fall into this category. This can be using CD’s, mp3’s or using Spotify. Some stores just don’t care, but mostly these are smaller non-chain shops that benefit from having a headstrong, independent or underground image. Like hipster barbershops or smaller record stores. They play whatever they seem fit. Keeping track of music played and copyright fee administration will be quite the hassle.
Some stores want to bypass copyright organisations out of principle. Their options include royalty free music, creative commons licensed music or unregistered bands.
     // HAP is a nice local Fair & Vegan Food boutique. They just started their shop and contacted me on how to have a music strategy that keeps with their principles, is fair to musicians, yet would involve music that is pleasant and in line with their business. Again, this too is an immense time consuming task, not helped by some very murky legislation and guilty-until-proven-otherwise fining tactics of copyright collectives. And officially Spotify may not be used in a business context. HAP got me thinking. To be continued on this one..

Radio Ga Ga – Stores like Wibra and Zeeman just put on the radio. Sky Radio in particular, or other channels lacking talking radio DJ’s. Entries in this category want to radiate an air of no nonsense and we-are-the-same-as-you. Yet radio has a tendency to broadcast commercials and radio station jingles.
     // So in a sense retailers pay remuneration to copyright collectives to fill their stores with the sound of potential competitors. – EDIT 10 march ’25: The personnel of Wibra stores are actually free to put on any radio station they want. The Wibra near you could have classical music playing.

The categories of Branding FM

Most retail chains use playlists tailored more or less to their needs. Made internally, outsourced, or subscribing to a business music streaming service. The first 2 encompass the BRANDING FM archetypes, and are used in Retail Roulette. The last category can be a wildly meandering ride into maddening mediocrity or surging schizophrenia. This results in a rant so I’ll save it for the end of this article.

BRANDING_FM-quotes_KLEIN02Internal – Big chains leaning on image and ‘feel’ mostly have a marketing department with internal music branding strategy. H&M and Victoria’s Secret take great pride in this and publish playlists on Spotify promoting their ‘flavour’. Starbucks even used to release records. De Tuinen have it easy: every store receives a monthly SD-card to freshen up the new age jukebox.
     // The last 2 years H&M’s music identity drastically shifted towards EDM-pop. This shows a transition from a more progressive young-at-heart store to a more broadly appealing place to which you can bring your girlfriend to choose what you should wear. Also: I consider Oren Lavie’s Her Morning Elegance to be the ultimate Starbucks song.

BRANDING_FM-quotes_KLEIN01External – In this category companies outsource the making of music playlists to external specialized businesses. For a fee stores periodically receive SD-cards or cd-r’s, or have a centralized music stream so in every store plays exactly the same. These playlists can go from very remiss to extremely intricate.
For most chains the music at least is dependent on season and if that chain is having a sale or not. Bijenkorf uses curiously edgy music. Hunkemöller could be selling the same bra as Victoria’s Secret, but while Hunkemöller uses music from the Starbucks archetype, Victoria’s Secret is all geared towards empowerment with an American sounding Single Ladies music palette. And Coolcat for example – with the target group being youngsters up to 18 years old – uses playlist that anticipate the time of day, adapting the flow of the music to school and party schedules.
     // A central streaming system could have it’s disadvantages. The Opposites does not only play in Dutch Coolcat stores, but also in the French ones. I wasn’t there when it happened but I can imagine French shoppers fearing a Nazi viking invasion. If it would be the other way around: the general French taste in music would turn every Dutch Coolcat into a coffeeshop.

BRANDING_FM-retailrouletteTHUMB2BRANDING FM presents:
Retail Roulette!

A playlist rotating between the 6 archetypes of BRANDING FM’s classification, with chunks of approx. 12 minutes each. Very useful to turn 1 environment into 6 or create a schizophrenic party. Can you guess them all?

Ps: Retail Roulette premiered at Cafe Bel in the entry hall of Rotterdam Contemporary during Art Rotterdam 2015, colouring it’s entrance in alternating sonic contexts. Funny enough, Rotterdam Contemporary itself got some bad reviews, calling it drab or pedestrian. Could this subconsciously be because of Retail Roulette’s influence and the point in time when the reviewers entered? Because we all know, art people are unaware and defenseless when it comes to looking with their ears (wink smiley).

As promised, the last category resulting in a rant.

BRANDING_FM-quotes_KLEIN03• Streaming subscription – A choice becoming more and more popular with retailers. It is cheap. You receive a box. With a knob. This knob mostly gives you three options: pop, chart and lounge. If you pay a bit more you can buy an extra setting. Like Vitamin Store did when they started with their juice bar formula, now being stuck with rather inappropriate music. And if you pay more than a bit more you can get a setting ‘just for you’.
It is cheap because you don’t have to pay to copyright collectives anymore. As a middle sized retail chain this could save up to E17.000,-. This could very well be a good thing. Yet this is possible by using the cheapest and/or most generic music around. Resulting in very inconsistent in-store music, or music so mediocre it will actually stand out because of it. ANWB-stores stopped using it, and Hema also suddenly steered away from maddening muzak with their new shop formula. To make it worse, these streaming services sometimes get their music roster through publishing agencies that buy up royalty free or creative commons licenced music in bulk, abusing the good (maybe naive) intentions or deliberate reasons of musicians.
// I’ll try to come up with an explanation why it is popular anyway. The music market, distribution and music consumption is rapidly changing, and so I notice the role of music transforming too. The way people listen to music is changing, and music is changing along with it. On one side it is present everywhere and more easily available then ever before, so is been taken more for granted. Yet on the other hand people consume music with less patience, so new music accommodates this by becoming more generic. In my experience people are becoming – dare I say it – dumber music wise. So retailers choose for the least expensive solution that will get them whatever music in the shop without too much hassle.
     Becoming musically dumber isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just makes us less aware of-, and more susceptible to the intricate subconscious workings of music. Which could make music use even more effective and make in-store music employment an even more refined (and/or nasty) art. Yet these streaming services don’t even hone in on this. Being bold: I find it is lazy and degrading. Degrading to retailers, their customers and music producers. End of rant.

There it is, for the whole world to hear, see and smell. Hope you enjoy the listenin’ as much as I enjoyed the makin’!

// Download & Listen @ BandcampiTunesSpotifyDeezer
// Order the limited edition – Sold out

Like what you’re hearing? Spread the word, share the love.
If you have a dime to spare for the download your karma will blossom. It’ll greatly help the music makin’ and the payin’ of them bills.

// Credits
Music : Michiel van de Weerthof
Mastering : René de Wilde
Design : Michiel van de Weerthof & Harco Rutgers
Original artwork : Amanda Majoor

// Thanks to : Marijn Moerbeek, René Genten, Jyoti Vennix, Harco Rutgers, Yves Brandsma, Amanda Majoor, Marleen de Puydt, Carlijn Stevens, Mark van den Heuvel, Jan Huijben, Lot Broos & Wietske Vogels.

// Ingredients : Accordeon, Autoharp, Balloons, Bathtub, Beatboxer, Birds, Carrillon, Cellophane, Chair, Computer, Crystal Glassware, Cuckoo Clock, Cutlery, Daxophone, Digital Alarm, Faucet, Floor, Glycerin, Guiro, Harmonica, Harpsichord, Insedit Olea Redolentia, Kazoo, Lauric Acid, Maple Wood, Maracas, Pendulum Clock, Pentasodium Pentetate, Piano, Polyvinyl Chloride Pipes, Propylene Glycol, Rooster, Rubber Bands, Saxophone, Sewing Machines, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Laurate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Stearate, Sorbitol, Stearic Acid, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Toothbrush, Universal Serial Bus Data Storage Device, Valves, Vibraphone, Violin, Vuvuzela, Water, Whirly Tube, Wooden Ruler, Xylophone.

Out of Control uses sounds from See individual tracks for credit-list.

// Press release
The Out of Control EP takes you on an electro-acoustic journey through a (not so) ordinary day.

Glitchy electronics, neo-classical and unlikely musical instruments such as sewing machines, toothbrushes, daxophones, elastic bands, pvc pipes, balloons, whirly tubes and vuvuzela’s.

Originally this music is the soundtrack for circustheatre play ‘Huis op Hol’ (previously known as ‘Out of Control’) by Wietske Vogels about a peculiar female inventor who builds overly complicated contraptions to make her everyday routines into something gracefully awesome.

This release is available as a pay-what-you-want download, but also as an exceptional limited edition. Here it comes… a wooden usb-stick, encased in a bar of soap, home-made by Weerthof! No more vinyl or CD’s clogging up your house if you don’t want to! Only 50 numbered copies of these are made, straight from the Weerthof cooking laboratory.

(Some reactions to the smell of the Out of Control soap: “This smell reminds me of the boat of my grand-parents”, “It smells a bit electrical”, “Somewhere between an scullery and a workshop”, “Like drinking mint tea on Texel”.)

Weerthof is a musician, artist and producer of soundtracks and catchy pop songs hailing from Den Bosch. This is his fifth release, and his first instrumental one in almost 10 years. He seems to have returned a bit to his roots of fusing classical music with IDM, modifying trivial sounds and building objects to create those specific sound combinations. Yet bringing along the exploration of pop and early music from his 2012 album ‘Hoi’, resulting in a light, somewhat eclectic yet distinctly Weerthovian flavour.

Ooc-optie-4The release date is drawing near… October 2nd. The Weerthof production line is in full swing to have 50 soapy babies ready for your smelling, looking ánd listening pleasure. Meanwhile record label Esc.rec. and me are working on press releases, digital distribution, and getting stuff ready for the release event at De Krakeling. (see below)

But enough talking: have some glorious behind-the-scene pictures!

Already sure you want one? Send me a PM, and I’ll set one apart for you. But besides all the soapy stuff, let’s not forget the most important ingredient: MUSIC!


EP Release @ De Krakeling, Amsterdam – Wed. 2 Oct – 14.30
Come watch & listen to the circustheatre play ‘Huis op Hol’ by Wietske Vogels to which the Out of Control EP is originally the soundtrack. I’ll be setting up my soap lab there, for some live soap making. And off course, be among the first to get your hands on one of these soapy babies.

The mailman came by at Weerthof HQ. Bringing with him a ton of wooden Out of Control USB-sticks, engraved and all.

Take a look at their naked glory while you still can. They and the other 48 will soon be encased in soap!

a massive amount of soap // "..can ignite spontaneously when heated above 150° C."

The soapy core ingredient also arrived. 12 whopping kilo’s of it. Now it is waiting for the labels and the last secret fragrance ingredients, on their way from Australia and the UK. The scent notes are decided upon, yet the ratio will need some experimentation. Weerthof HQ already starts resembling a laboratory meets sweatshop.


“…can ignite spontaneously when heated above 150°.”

Want to see me do some actual LIVE soap making and usb encasing?
The 21st of September I will set up my cooking lab at Miss Match Party in Cafe Averechts, Utrecht.

Already sure you NEED to have one of those? Send me a message, and I’ll set one apart for you. (Release date: 2 October)

In case you haven’t heard: here a preview of one of the tracks of the EP.

Ps // These companies earned a shout-out and kudos for good service, communication and speedy delivery:
Flashbay – the usb dudes
De Hekserij – the soap dudes

To be honest: I don’t care that much about vinyl or cd’s. Plaques of matter, clogging up space in our houses. Neither for so called ‘limited edition physical releases’, for that matter. What I do care about is music. A lot. I love making it, and love listening to it. But I also love musicians and producers who go the extra mile to make their releases something special. Something tangible, to put the icing on the cake of the sweat and love they poured into it. Doesn’t sound contradictory at all, does it?

Ooc-optie-4On October 2nd my new release will come out on esc.rec:  The Out of Control EP.  And I’d like to make a ‘limited edition physical release’ which can both be a tangible thing filled with love, and something that doesn’t clog up your house if you don’t want to. So, Out of Control will not only be available as a pay-what-you-want download, but also (here it comes) ..

DIY soap & fragrence experiment #4 // ceder, bergamot, lemon, glycerin, fabric softener, usb-stick & motor oil

DIY soap & fragrence experiment #4 // ceder, bergamot, lemon, glycerin, fabric softener, usb-stick & motor oil

… as a wooden usb-stick, encased in a bar of soap – home-made by me. To make it even worse: I’d like to make the soap smell as how the music sounds. I’m now teaching myself the fine craft of soap making, making prototypes and delving in the fickle universe of smell. Will I get it right? I don’t know. Is it fun to do? Hell yeah!

Want to hear and see the music in action or get your hands on the finished product? Come to Theater de Krakeling in Amsterdam on October 2nd, and see the circustheatre show by Wietske Vogels – of which this originally is the soundtrack -, and be one of the first to get your hands on one of these soapy babies!

Usb-stick in soap Prototype #1

Usb-stick in soap Prototype #3

On this blog I will keep you posted on the soap making process and adventures.

PS 1 // If you are still wondering: why soap, man? Come to De Krakeling on October 2nd, and you’ll understand. And off course because experimenting with weird materials, chemicals, smells and fragrances is damn awesome!

PS 2 // Already itching to get your hands on one of these soapy babies? Send me a message, and I’ll reserve one especially for you.

PS 3 // What the heck is an EP? Wikipedia knows all about it.

I'm using glycerin, because the fat and lye otherwise needed isn't very appreciated by usb-sticks in general.

I’m using glycerin, because the fat and lye otherwise needed isn’t very appreciated by usb-sticks in general.


Glycerin doesn’t harden when using water or oil based extractions. It needs to be done with concentrates. But to get the smell right without the risk of giving everyone an immense rash still needs some olfactory experimentation.

Remix by Frietboer & Eigenheimer
Video by rdenoudern.

The orginal album “Hoi”  by Weerthof (containing ‘Überhaupt’) is available @

Twee HOI recensies deze week. Aan beide kanten van het spectrum. Aan de ene kant de nu al legendarische recensie in de Musicmaker, aan de andere kant een zeer liefdevolle recensie van

“In meerdere opzichten briljant album” //De coverfoto is goed gekozen: het bezorgt mij precies die mengeling van vertedering en ongemak die de muziek mij ook geeft. Naakt als de taal die Weerthof genadeloos tot kogels smeedt en die vervolgens afvuurt op je ziel. Kwetsbaar als de subtiele klanken die dit album bevolken. Kaal, als tegenwicht tegen de complexiteit van de inhoud.” //, Peter Tuin >> Lees de recensie

// Musicmaker, Bert Middelbos

HOI lieve mensen // Veel gebeurd in de tussentijd! Een dikke HOI Release Party, emotionele tijden in de familie, en het proberen om de media warm te draaien voor HOI, gebruikmakend van mijn ervaringen met crowdfunding en sponsorwerving. De ontvangst in de muziekpers is tot nog toe ‘nogal uiteenlopend’. HOI en Weerthoviaanse benadering houden in ieder geval de gemoederen bezig. En de cover heeft sowieso weinig gebrek aan aandacht.. knipoog smilie. // Maar ehh, het gaat toch om de muziek? // Ehh.. o ja.

HOI @ Plato // HOI is vanaf heden ook verkrijgbaar bij Plato / Concerto recordstores in heel Nederland // Ook online in de webwinkel

Weerthofs Nieuw Weef Electro Renaissance - HOI Release Feest  W2 Poppodium 29-03-2012 fotografie: Sandra Leijtens © 201Toekomst van de Weerthof Band // We hebben een goeie reële bandmeeting incluus veel drank gehad over voortgang met Weerthofs Nieuw Weef Electro Renaissance // Conclusie: We willen. Juist in combinatie met de oude instrumenten // Hoe? Het kan nóg wat strakker. En met deze line-up is een eigen geluidsman ook geen overbodige luxe. (klavecimbels en ranketten, weetjewel) Wordt vervolgd.. geduld geduld, kinderen.

Enkele recensies & reacties //

Een ware must-have met verrassende liedjes. // “HOI”, het album van Michiel van de Weerthof moet je eigenlijk luisteren in een stille kamer, met je ogen dicht en de volumeknop op max. Je ontdekt telkens iets nieuws. Elke keer weer. Heb je geen tijd om zo uitgebreid te luisteren? Dat geeft niet! Want hoe je zijn album ook beluistert, zijn muziek komt binnen. En goed! “ // 3voor12 Den Bosch, Sonny Gillissen
>> Lees de recensie

Wil hij de serieuze muziekpers eens flink op het verkeerde been zetten? // Met de grootste wil van de wereld kan ik geen diepere betekenis achter teksten en muziek vinden. Dat zou aan mijn beperkte vermogen om kunst te beoordelen kunnen liggen, maar misschien worden we wel gewoon in de maling genomen. // Bert Middelbos, Musicmaker >> Te lezen in Musicmaker #4, incluus mijn reactie.

Een totaalkunstwerk met een enorme impact en overrompelende kracht. Groots unicum! Gaat dat luisteren! Hoi! // Alles is mogelijk, zij het binnen de ruime artistieke kaders van Weerthof. Het knappe is namelijk dat hij dit allemaal tot één consistent beklijvend geheel aaneen heeft weten te smeden, maar daarmee toch steeds verrassend uit de hoek weet te komen. Elke song is in het boekje overigens ook nog eens voorzien van artwork van diverse kunstenaars. //, Jan Willem Broek. >> Lees de recensie

Ha Michiel. // We hebben het er hier op de redactie over gehad en besloten om het niet op de luisterpaal te zetten. Helaas was niemand van de redactie enthousiast over de plaat.” // Reactie per email van de 3voor12 Luisterpaal redactie.

Weerthofs Nieuw Weef Electro Renaissance - HOI Release Feest  W2 Poppodium 29-03-2012 fotografie: Sandra Leijtens © 201Love-or-hate // Nogal uiteenlopende reacties dus. HOI is blijkbaar zo’n  love-or-hate album. Al is muziekbizzzz natuurlijk een ouwe-jongens-krentebrood wereldje, heb ik -omdat ik bijna alles zélf doe en m’n familie ook verdomde belangrijk is- niet eeuwig de tijd, het geld en de luxe om daar eindeloos mee bezig te zijn. // Ik probeer het op díe manier te doen die ik in anderen ook zou waarderen // Linksom rechtsom. Hier is HOI. De tijden veranderen. Maak uw borsten maar nat // ♥

PS // De Credits van de Weerthof HOI Release Party promo:

Camera: Eric Weterings
Geluid: Tom Keijzers
Productie: Brantmedia
(tnx hombres!)

Hier enkele toegestuurde fan-pics ♥

Elke Verplanke houdt van HOI en van mooie schoenenMartijn van Rijssel heeft zijn Piaggio Mp3 gepimpt met HOI. Incluus Heldenaccessoires.

A headstrong mix of indietronic pop, new wave and early music. Portishead meets Tom Waits meets Metronomy meets Sufjan Stevens meets King Henry VIII.

HOI, my newest album is now available on Bandcamp, iTunes & Spotify

On march 29th HOI will also be released on as audio CD! A shiny high quality 6 panel digipak, including booklet with original artwork by 11 sizzling visual artists! Want a nice Early Bird discount? Preorder online . Or send me a message so I’ll put you on the reservation list and get yourself a nice Early Bird discount! 

▲ Allereerst hierboven een portie liefde voor alle helden. ▲

♥ Dankzij jullie onmisbare support is HOI meer dan alleen een droom. Er valt nog een hoop te doen voordat HOI überhaupt naar de perser gestuurd kan worden. Hier op deze blog zal ik jullie op de hoogte houden. Hier alvast een overzicht van wat er zoal staat te gebeuren.

• Mix // Terwijl ik heftig aan het crowdfunden was, werkte mixheld Marijn Moerbeek stevig door. Als het goed is maken we volgende week de definitieve versies. Ik kreeg stiekem vochtige oogjes bij het luisteren van de voorlopige mixen. Raar, maar heel mooi om je werk in de handen van anderen tot volle wasdom te horen komen.

Rogier Roeters - Je te dirais (detail)

• Master // Dan kunnen de liedjes door naar masteraar Mark van den Heijden van Lab van Akoestiek. Hij zal onder andere de liedjes op elkaar afstemmen zodat de cd als een geheel klinkt. Wat masteren precies inhoudt kan Wikipedia een stuk beter uitleggen dan ik.

Jak Peters - Bruin (detail)

• Boekje // In de tussentijd zal ik bezig zijn met het ontwerp van het cd-boek en hoes, geholpen door typo/grafisch ontwerper Mark van den Heuvel. Voordat hij zich kan buigen over de opmaak van de teksten, het redigeren en printklaar maken van het boekje, moet ik eerst ook nog allerlei zaken regelen zoals een barcode en meer van dat saais. En me ook begeven in het oerwoud der muziekrechten.
Inspirerende hardwerkende mensen gun ik alles,
maar graaiende instanties en smeerlappen krijgen
-als het even kan- geen cent van me.

Chris Brans - Arreslee (detail)

• Foto
// De fotoshoot voor de cd-hoes en speciale sponsorfoto in het boekje staat in de planning. Debbie van der Putten en ik duiken dan in onze blote hoi voor de lens van Heidrun Klos. Na wat laatste kleurcorrecties kunnen de foto’s weer naar Mark. Het idee voor de foto is geïnspireerd op de ‘Pioneer plaque’, een gouden plakkaat die de NASA eind jaren 70
de ruimte in schoot als boodschap aan eventueel buitenaards leven.
Zie hier een documentaire over de Pioneer Plaque.

Als dit alles af is kan de hele zooi naar de perser in Polen. Tegen die tijd valt er ook weer vanalles te doen, maar daarover meer als het zover is.

Tot zover,
♥ Michiel

HOI wordt mede mogelijk gemaakt door deze Grote Jongens: