MSNBC debuts new music with new HD look

Along with its new HD look, msnbc has also rolled out new music. Unlike CNN, MSNBC has never had a memorable musical signature. MSNBC’s last dayside theme was developed in-house by a MSNBC staffer and a guitar. The theme worked well with its graphics package, but did not convey the urgency of the news and always had the same beat.

Today, MSNBC debuted an updated music brand with the new theme heard above. At times the music sounds almost like a piece of Videohelper production music, and it very well could be since MSNBC uses much of the VH library during its programming, but at times it also sounds like a custom piece developed specifically for them. We hope to find official word on who composed it along with an extended sample.

Recently, Stephen Arnold Music has worked with the network to compose The Rachel Maddow Show theme. Much of MSNBC’s past themes were developed by Shelly Palmer and Joel Beckerman’s Man Made Music. Beckerman has a strong working relationship with NBC, creating the updated Sunday Night Football Superbowl theme, Hardball theme and various ancillary musical pieces. Any of these composers could have created the new MSNBC theme.

Overall, the updated theme heard throughout the dayside hours adds urgency to the news and works well with the updated graphics. The theme uses blips and quick hits along with strong percussion as a more orchestral part builds up. Unlike other networks, MSNBC does not have a true intro to its dayside programs. Instead, the anchors read the top headlines and the logo appears. Due to this, MSNBC doesn’t need a full theme, just an underscore. Fox News gives its programs full 3d intros with complex animations, MSNBC has always been simpler.

Along with the updated music, MSNBC has also added sound effects to many of its new graphics. Blips are heard as information appears and changes. These sound effects may not last like some parts of the new graphics package. CNBC also uses blips to tell people watching new information is now on the screen.

MSNBC’s new programs build on the new percussion based dayside theme but still don’t have fully original themes like Countdown and Hardball.

While the music may not have a strong sonic brand it works in the overall context of MSNBC. Their new graphical look is simple and the music does not provide overkill but instead compliments the graphics and talent.

As we find out more information about the composer and piece we will continue to update this post.

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