This Digital Agency Strives to Make Its Clients Sound as Good as They Look

Founding partners of Listen are rooted in the music business

Listen founding partners Brett Volker (l.) and Steve Milton Drew Reynolds
Headshot of Marty Swant

Who Founding partners Brett Volker (l.) and Steve Milton
What Marketing agency
Where New York

The new era of voice assistants and streaming services has many brands beginning to consider not just how they’re seen, but also how they’re heard. That’s why companies like Skype, Audi and Jim Beam have all turned to Listen, a New York-based digital agency that helps brands think more strategically about sound.

Founded in 2012, Listen is rooted in the music business, according to founding partners Steve Milton and Brett Volker. (Milton was a musician and composer, and Volker worked at a record label.) The team has worked with Microsoft to develop a music and technology program, collaborating with artists including Childish Gambino on both live and VR experiences, and is currently consulting with Virgin on how to engage with the music industry. On the app front, Listen is helping Tinder to craft custom sounds for a user’s timeline and notifications.

“We believe in this idea of acoustic ecology,” said Milton. “We don’t want to pollute the world with more sound. We want to design sound to be thoughtful and beautiful.”

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This story first appeared in the Oct. 9, 2017, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.