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The Story Behind Netflix's "Ta-Dum": Sound Branding

Sonic branding, also known as sound branding, is a key component of a brand's identity. It uses audio to evoke emotions, create associations, and enhance recognition. In today's fast-paced and media-saturated world, sound branding has become more important than ever.

It allows brands to stand out and connect with their audience on a deeper level. Just as visual logos are essential for brand recognition, sound logos—or sonic logos—play a critical role in creating a memorable and unique brand experience.

A Little About Logos

Logos are crucial for building brand identity and recognition, with some achieving worldwide recognition. This level of recognition doesn't happen overnight. While the product and its unique features are important for standing out, a well-designed logo also plays a crucial role. Designing a standout logo that reflects the values of the product and company can significantly impact how a brand is perceived.

Branding aims to create a unique, memorable identity, and there are various ways to achieve this. Most people are familiar with visual graphic logos, but sound logos, or sonic logos, are also effective. Although it might seem unusual to some, a well-crafted sound logo can be highly impactful.

A sound logo is a short audio clip, typically lasting only a few seconds, and it may or may not be paired with a visual element. Sound logos are especially useful on non-visual platforms like radio, music, or podcast apps.

One of the most iconic examples of sound branding is Netflix's "ta-dum" sound. This blog will explore the story behind this signature sound, its impact, and other notable examples of sound branding in the industry.

The Story Behind Netflix's "Ta-Dum"

The Creation Process

The "ta-dum" sound was developed by Oscar-winning sound designer Lon Bender and his team. The goal was to create a sound that was as recognizable as the iconic visual logos of major film studios like Universal or MGM. After experimenting with various sounds, including a goat bleating and underwater noises, the team settled on the now-famous "ta-dum." This two-note sound was chosen for its simplicity, memorability, and the emotional impact it could convey in a brief moment.

Todd Yellin's Insights

In a podcast interview, Todd Yellin, VP of Product at Netflix, revealed some key details about how the famous "ta-dum" sound came into existence. In today's fast-paced world, a long sound wouldn't work, so it had to be short and crisp. Despite Netflix being a tech-backed company, Yellin didn't want the sound to be electronic or tech-related.

He wanted the sound logo to be related to a cinematic entertainment experience, because that's exactly what people know and come to Netflix for. Along with that, the sound logo was intended to create a feeling of suspense—something great is about to happen.

After considering many different options, the first version of the "ta-dum" sound was finalized, which actually included the sound of a goat bleating. Yellin didn’t care much about how the sound was produced; he was concerned with how people felt about it. When the first version of the sonic logo was tested with a focus group, the audience associated it with keywords such as “dramatic,” “interesting,” “beginning,” and “movie.”

Amazing Facts About Netflix's "Ta-Dum"

  1. Timing: The "ta-dum" sound lasts only three seconds, yet it leaves a lasting impression on viewers.

  2. Alternatives: Other sounds considered included a goat bleating and underwater noises, showcasing the creative and experimental process behind finding the perfect sound.

  3. Recognition: The "ta-dum" sound has become so iconic that Netflix users have created ringtones and remixes of it, further solidifying its place in popular culture.

Other Examples of Sound Branding

Netflix's "ta-dum" is not the only successful instance of sound branding. Here are some other notable examples:

  1. Intel's "Bong" Sound

  • Description: The five-note sequence that plays with the Intel logo.

  • Impact: It represents advanced technology and reliability, making it one of the most easily recognized sounds in the tech industry.

  1. McDonald's "I'm Lovin' It" Jingle

  • Description: The catchy jingle associated with McDonald's commercials.

  • Impact: It reinforces the brand's friendly and approachable image, creating an emotional connection with consumers.

  1. Apple's Startup Chime

  • Description: The chime that plays when an Apple computer is turned on.

  • Impact: It signals the beginning of a seamless and premium user experience, aligning with Apple's brand values.

The Power of Sound in Branding

Sound branding is a powerful tool that can significantly enhance a brand's identity and consumer connection. By creating a unique and memorable audio signature, brands can stand out in a crowded marketplace and foster a deeper emotional bond with their audience. Netflix's "ta-dum" sound is a prime example of how a simple yet effective sound can become an integral part of a brand's identity.

In conclusion, sound branding is an art form that combines creativity, psychology, and strategic thinking. Whether it's the iconic "ta-dum" of Netflix or the timeless chimes of NBC, these sounds shape our perception and experience of brands in profound ways.

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