"First Song"

June 22, 2015
"First Song"

As part of its #MakeMusicChange initiative, music streaming service Spotify partnered with Starkey Hearing Foundation in November 2014 to provide hundreds of people with hearing aids in Puerto Princesa, Philippines. So far, Spotify has helped Starkey Hearing Foundation give the gift of hearing to more than 900 people, and is working with its community of users to reach its goal of 1,000. Part of the outreach effort included the production of the short film, “First Song,” which details the experience of three Philippine locals and how music touched their lives for the first time.





Tim Lincoln, Music Dealers




The Challenge

The Sound of Change

The film was led by award-winning director Alec Helm of production company Tool, along with New York City-based Night Agency. Touching and heartfelt, the video documents the life-changing experience Spotify and Starkey Hearing Foundation provided three hearing impaired locals. The first half of the film was shot with ambient noise – running water, a bustling market, a crowing rooster – to highlight the ubiquity of sound. Music permeates the film when Eugene, Jessa Mae, and Isagani are given hearing aids. The music echos their experience and represents the first song they, and hundreds of others, hear – a tall order to fill for just one song.

The Solution

Sync Licensing

Night Agency sourced Music Dealers for our vast catalog of top global emerging artists, seeking a song that could both echo the local sounds of tropical Puerto Princesa and evoke the powerful emotions of the experience of Eugene, Jessa Mae, and Isagani. Creative Director Tim Lincoln delivered playlists to discover a music solution, leading to the tropical indie rock band, Holger. One of Brazil’s top emerging talents, Holger energized the local venues of São Paulo with an Afro-pop adaptation of Western indie rock. Paired with “First Song,” Holger’s bright indie-pop song, “Beaver,” captures the inimitable bliss of hearing for the first time with its energetic rhythm, punchy guitar riffs, and vocal harmony.

The Result

100s of Lives Changed

“Music can change a mood, a day, a conversation, or a neighborhood,” writes Spotify on its projects page. “And together we can make change through music.” Through the joint efforts of Spotify and Starkey Hearing Foundation, and the shareable film “First Song,” hundreds of hearing impaired locals have been able to experience music for the first time. To celebrate this truly miraculous experience, Eugene, Jessa Mae, Isagani, and others curated a Spotify playlist of the first songs they chose to hear after getting their hearing aids. “First Song” was also voted “Ad of the Day” by AdWeek and “Ad of the Week” by AdForum.

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