Adobe Stock audio trends: The ever-expanding electronic spectrum

Audio assets are now available on Adobe Stock, with curated, trend-focused collections to help you find the best of the best, fast.

Colorful sound waves on a black background.

Credit: Adobe Stock/alphaspirit.

By RF Jurjevics

Posted on 03-23-2021

Highly influential legends Daft Punk may have called it quits, but we have some good news to soften the blow (and in case you missed the announcement): Audio assets are now available on Adobe Stock, with curated, trend-focused collections to help you find the best of the best, fast.

First up: Electronic Spectrum.

Electronic music can be difficult to define, especially in terms of what “counts” (and what does not). For David Slitzky, director of music development & special projects for epidemic sound (an Adobe Stock audio launch partner), it’s less about the construction of a song and more about the ideas and concepts it is built on.

“Even if a track has more organic elements than synthesized elements, the intention behind the creation of that track could be to create an electronic piece of music, or a piece of music with electronic synthesized elements at the core of it,” Slitzky says.

He cites Merrill Garbus’s TuneYards project and multidisciplinary musician Dan Deacon as prime examples of this concept in action. Of TuneYards, Slitzky says, “She’s always starting with either a very strong organic element or a very hyper synthesized element at the core and then building out.” Deacon’s music, which is generated using an impressive array of electronic pads and other inputs, also has an analog side: “The track [may be] absolutely electronic,” says Slitzky, “but it does still contain some non-electronic elements.”

But what is it that elevates a genre – or sub-genre, or niche offshoot, to get more granular about it – into a trend?

Audio is a staple for creatives, and this is the number one reason why we launched our standout Adobe Stock app-integrated audio selections over the summer. While it’s great to have content, period, the finely-tuned curation of that content is absolutely key. As more and more creatives seek to break into social media or simply raise their production value, Adobe Stock’s audio trends aim to get the freshest, most relevant tracks to them as rapidly and easily as they can hit ‘upload.’

Slitzky has identified three key elements necessary to trends ‘special sauce’: “First, popularity, then recognition, and then finally, relevance.” He continues, “Those three things play into each other. Popularity: it wouldn’t be a trend of a lot of people weren’t using it. Recognition: in order to describe what these things are, or to be able to call it a trend, there has to be recognition on the consumer side. And then the relevance piece is like a Z axis.”

It’s this last piece that really seals the deal. “The relevance of a trend is where the real staying power takes place,” Slitzky says.

Credit: Adobe Stock/seratepe/Pond5.

Soundtracking a community

Talk about staying power: while electronic music is used in everything from beer commercials to this (super cute) UK cereal brand spot, much of its continuing popularity comes from content creators on platforms like YouTube and TikTok. Both are home to breakout stars, many of whom rely heavily on electronic music as accompaniment—and subject matter. YouTube channels focused on discovering, playing, and promotic electronic music have amassed millions of followers. Among the biggest are MrSuicideSheep, a group from Canada, and CloudKid, who are based in Germany. Electronic music is, as Slitzky says, “soundtracking a community.”

This phenomenon has not escaped the creative teams tasked with generating material for top brands. Apple’s 2020 commercial for their AirPod Pro headphones featured a track by Australian electronic musician Flume, while Ford commissioned a track by artist Matthew Dear that included actual sounds from their new Mustang Mach-E. It’s the target demographic leading the way, all the way: “You have to speak their language, when it’s an ad, a film, or a TV show,” Slitzky says, “but you also have to use the same soundtrack.”

It’s a soundtrack that is leading the content revolution. Along with the ubiquity of social media giants, electronic music has opened the digital creative scene as a whole to embrace newcomers. The key? Accessibility. Slitzky breaks it down further: “Not only the accessibility for a listener to find this music, or for a storyteller to be able to use these types of audio elements in one of their videos, but even just the tools themselves to create that music have become more and more democratized,” he says. “I don’t think that any other genre of music besides electronic has been able to really take advantage of these technological advances in the same way before. Anyone with a phone can be a content creator, sharing their story around the world, and that’s really opened up so many different channels for this type of music to be used.”

Credit: Adobe Stock/Wacomka/Pond5.

Royalty-free audio for all

Sourcing music (especially music that does not carry the risk of copyright strikes) has always been essential for creatives and is even more so now. Even the experienced run into issues with “fair use” laws and the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) (which is heavy on the legalese). Copyright problems can effectively wipe out entire projects. This means royalty-free is the name of the game, a great boon for talented, motivated artists looking to catch the attention of music supervisors for “sync” deals (in which a production company or individual licenses a song for a single use). Electronic music is particularly sought after—and well suited—to sync deals.

“A growing number of electronic artists, whose home studios and relative stylistic flexibility make them a good fit for such work, have taken to supplementing their income with regular work for advertising agencies and film and TV production companies,” wrote Tony Naylor in a 2016 article for Resident Advisor (also known as “RA”), a multi-faceted platform focused on electronic music. “Meanwhile,” Naylor continues, “film and TV production companies are increasingly appreciating the artistic value that commissioned experimental electronic music can bring to a project, usually for a fraction of the cost of a traditional orchestral score.”

Immerse yourself in sound: Electronic Spectrum from Audio Stock.

Topics: Creativity, Insights & Inspiration, Trends & Research, Video & Audio, Media & Entertainment, Creative Cloud,

Products: Creative Cloud, Stock,