Music psychology graduates shape sound of global brands

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A sonic branding agency’s internship programme aims to give Goldsmiths graduates skills and job opportunities in the world of tech, business, music and marketing, while generating new music psychology research for industry.

image shows a man working on a laptop, he has headphones, a phone and a notebook

The Music Mind and Brain group in the Department of Psychology has partnered with amp sound branding to launch a paid graduate internship scheme, providing recent alumni with the chance to learn practical skills and receive insight into how amp helps transform clients’ brands through sound marketing. 

Munich-based amp is the world’s leading agencies for sonic branding – a rapidly growing type of marketing which uses sounds and music to build a brand’s identity. They work with some of the world’s biggest brands, including Mastercard, Mercedes-Benz, The Kraft Heinz Company, and Unilever. 

The award-winning agency’s Head of Strategy and Research, Bjorn Thorleifsson, is a Goldsmiths alumnus. 

Graduates participating in amp’s six-month hands-on internship will have studied the MSc Music, Mind and Brain at Goldsmiths, a postgraduate course focused on different dimensions of music psychology, from perception to cognition, such as the cognitive neuroscience of music, computational modelling, music education and music therapy.

amp will also be working with academics and current students on the MSc to initiate joint research projects to work on while students are still studying, with potential for research findings to result in ‘real-world’ impact that shapes amp’s work with clients while providing an impressive addition to students’ academic CVs. 

amp combine unique expertise in brand strategy with decades of experience in music composition, production and compilation. Their approach to sound branding is the creation of ‘’sonic DNA’, a strategy that uses ‘sonic watermarking’to ensure brand recall. 

For amp, the internship scheme is an opportunity to work with graduates who have studied one of the world’s leading courses in music and psychology. 

Supporting and nurturing future industry talent is fundamental to producing and shaping the creative ideas and deep strategic and technological insight needed to encourage change, and it is hoped that drawing on fresh perspectives and talent through the collaboration will help drive the future of sonic branding. 

Bjorn Thorleifsson said: “The creation of music and emotional connection have always been intertwined, so to have access to the next generation of people examining this field with fresh ideas and opinions is critical for business growth at amp. 

“Joining forces to further deepen research at the intersection of branding, music and psychology plays a vitally important role in amp’s plan to help the world’s best brands find their voice.” 

The company has already welcomed two Goldsmiths graduates as interns in the Strategy and Research department - Ellen Murphy and Ceren Ayyildiz. Thorleifsson will be working closely with new interns in this department to collaborate on projects and make sure they are getting the most out of the opportunity. 

Professor Daniel Müllensiefen, Professor in Psychology at Goldsmiths and co-director of the MSc Music Mind and Brain worked alongside amp to initiate an agreement. He said: “It’s essential that students and graduates gain real-life experience in the area that they are specialising and learning about. Music and psychology are gaining traction within marketing and branding strategies, so this is a great opportunity for graduates of Goldsmiths to receive insight knowledge from a sonic branding agency like amp.” 

Michele Arnese, CEO of amp, said: “We feel privileged to be collaborating with Goldsmiths and welcoming the next generation of talent into our company to learn, experience and support on creating the future of sonic branding. Businesses must establish internship programmes to find future like-minded employees, increase productivity and enhance perspective while allowing people to take their first step into the real world.” 

Bjorn Thorleifsson, Head of Strategy and Research, amp, said: “As a Goldsmiths alumnus myself, I’m enthusiastic about this programme as interns will be able to learn on a first-hand basis how amp is helping to transform the sound of today’s brands. 

“In return we will benefit from knowledge and learning generated by one of the world’s best universities for music and psychology.”

Find out more about the MSc Music Mind and Brain at Goldsmiths