History of the Song of the Summer

Summer unofficially began few weeks. And how can we say it’s not summer?  Barbecue season is here, the weather is getting warmer and the music on the radio is getting more poppy!

Source:  Pixbay

Source: Pixbay

Around this time of the year, people begin to talk about whose song they think will be declared the song of the summer. But do we ever think about where the term “song of the summer” originates from? Many people believe the term comes from the 1950s and ’60s during the rise of teenage beach culture. While this holds some historical truth, the term and cultural phenomenon finds itself rooted much deeper in our collective cultural history.

We technically define the song of the summer as the song that has the most number of weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart between Memorial Day and Labor Day. This chart ranks popular songs in every genre based on sales, radio play and, most recently, streaming.

To start off our dive into the history of the song of the summer we first have to acknowledge that this phenomenon couldn’t have been developed without the development of the modern music industry. In order to get an idea of the foundations of our modern music industry we first have to take a look at music history.

A (brief) history of the Music Industry

Source:  Pixbay

Source: Pixbay

The idea of popular music is thought to have originated around the 1880s (I told you we’d have to go back into history). Before we recorded music, music was distributed by circulating sheet music (sounds obvious, but stay with me). Surprisingly, this led to songs becoming popular and major hits were created as a result. Another place where songs became popular and spread to the masses was through operas and operettas.

Due to the long sales & distribution cycles, it was common for songs to be consistently popular for a few years in a row as opposed to a few weeks or month like we’re used to now.

Around this time, the music industry saw growth from another thing. Around 1877 the phonograph was invented and began to grow in popularity. This device was used to record sound and recreate that recorded sound.  This invention would later give rise to the record players.

With the invention of the phonograph, new opportunities and business models opened up for artists, songwriters, and sheet music printers. This also led people to try and develop songs that would be popular and accessible to a large audience. This new rapid means distributing and consuming music arguably created the environment in which a song could one day be called the song of the summer.

Phonograph. Source:  Pixbay

Phonograph. Source: Pixbay

Early 1900s

In the early 1990s is when we first see a recognizable “song of the summer”. During this time, we begin to see the earliest conversations of people talking about what song they felt defined the summer season that year. In fact, a New York Times article from the 1920s declared the song “Yes, We Have No Bananas” the summer’s hit song. Many people met this with anger and dissatisfaction.

The ’20s also usher in the rise of the radio as well as NBC and CBS. Both of these things allowed for an even wider spread of music and shorter distribution times on music.

Rise of the Recording Industry

Like we said before the song of the summer wasn’t invented in the ’50s and ’60s during teen beach culture, but it is when it became a fully formed cultural institution. This is because of the recording industry, as we know it, was developed. This new industry focused heavily on developing songs that would have mass-market appeal in order to develop large revenue streams for their owners.

Source:  Vimeo

Source: Vimeo

This is also the time when Americans saw the rise of car culture and many teenagers beginning to get their drivers licenses for the first time. With more people, teenagers, in particular, driving around town with radios in their car, this gave recording companies and radio stations a captive audience with whom to share their music. The entertainment industry took advantage of teenagers' newfound independence and worked hard to really build out this cultural phenomenon at this time.

Around this time Billboard magazine redesigned its rating charts, which allowed people to have a measurable indication of what the song of the summer is. Additionally, New York magazine in 1995 attempted to define what it thought the song of the summer meant. Their definition is that it has to be a song that’s released in the summer, is a little dumb and impossible to forget. Although by 1995, the idea of a song of the summer was already a notion that was widely held.

Today, the song of the summer is something we obsess over because it defines the year. When I think about my first summer I spent in Portland while in college back in 2012, I’m reminded of friends and me blasting Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe” out the car and singing at the top of our lungs on our way to get cheap sushi. When I see a movie that’s supposed to take place during summer 2007, I almost expect to hear Rihanna’s “Umbrella” on the soundtrack.

The song of the summer serves as a cultural landmark for any given year. It connects us to times long gone and maybe even helps us hold on to some part of our youth.

So, what's your pick for song of the summer? Are you already a fan of Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” or are you a fan of “Work from Home” by Fifth Harmony? Let us know! Tweet your pick to us at @getaudibility.

The Oregonian's picks for the song of the summer.

Sources: BBCVox.com & Bustle

Athletics and Music

Audibility Edit Final.00_00_04_21.Still016 copy.png

Summer is here, and we’re all looking to get in shape before we head out for vacation. As we get ready to hit the gym, the first thing we grab is, more often than not, our iPod or iPhone to listen to that playlist we spent way too much time putting together. But have we ever thought about why we feel like we have to listen to music while we work out? Do we listen to music just to drown out the pain and agony of working out, or can science tell us more about the relationship between music and working out?

Our burning desire to need music while we exercise might begin with something innate in us. Research has suggested that humans have long had an inner connection to music and its rhythmical elements.

A growing field of research in sports & exercise science suggests that music can act like a performance-enhancing drug to non-elite athletes. This effect is called an ergogenic effect. What researchers theorize that music can help non-elite athletes distract themselves from fatigue, synchronize their movement to the rhythm of the music, and can act as a trigger for learning certain motions, which helps with muscle memory.

A study conducted by Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D. from Brunel University London seems to support this theory. In Karageorghis’ study, he studied the effects of music on non-elite athletes’ performance.  Karageorghis’ results found that music can have some effect on peoples’ athletic performance.

In his testing, Karageorghis found that up-tempo (>120 beats per minute) synchronous music can help improve athletic performance. In his study, runners who listened to up-tempo music ran a 400-meter sprint faster than their non-up-tempo music counterparts, which seem to suggest that music did improve an athlete's performance in this instance.

But does this actually mean music can help us with athletic performance? Frankly, no one is really sure. But, there is a growing body of evidence that supports that non-elite athletes use music to help match pacing on runs, calm nerves before a performance, and assist in us remembering certain movements. And this makes a lot of sense. Many of us have a playlist we listen to while working out and subconsciously match pace and intensity to that playlist. When we don’t have that playlist, it’s really easy for us to recall those songs to match the intensity and pace to our workout.

It even makes anthropological and historical sense on some levels. Almost every culture has created their unique sound through music. Up through the 19th Century many western military forces recruited young boys to play drums during wars, to not only send signals, but I’m willing to bet, create a certain pace to war and battle (more historical research to back my slightly unfounded claim).

While further research is needed to definitively support the effects of music on our athletic performance, there seems to be strong research to suggest you perform better at rhythmic activities while listening to high-tempo music. I know when I workout I used music to help set my running pace or lift more. But what do you guys think? Does music help you with working out? Do you think there’s a legitimate connection or is it all made up in our head? 

We reached 100% of our Kickstarter Funding Goal in 24 Hours!


We are very pleased to announce that we reached our Kickstarter funding goal in 24 hours! We could not be happier with how this campaign has turned out! With all of your contributions we will be able to start our first production run of Audibility Customs and get them to the market by this fall!

In the mean time, please feel free to share this with friends & family! There are still discounted products on our campaign that people can take advantage of!

Behind the Scenes of Filming

Our Kickstarter launch date is just around the corner! We thought this would be a good time to share with you some behind the scenes photos of us filming some of our Kickstarter video! Don't forget our Kickstarter campaign launches May 17th at 1pm! Enjoy!

Coming Back to Kickstarter

You heard that right, folks! We're coming back to Kickstarter. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, May 17th at 1pm! We're back and better than ever.

At this point, you may be wondering what you can do. Luckily, we have some suggestions for you!

  1. You can back our campaign: Whether you give $1 or $100, every dollar counts. You don't even need to get a pair of headphones if you want to. You can just give a $1 for believing in our campaign.
  2. Give early: If you're going to back our campaign, we ask that you give early. Kickstarter's algorithm will bump us up to the "New and Noteworthy" page if raise 40% of our campaign during the first two days.
  3. Spread the word: Please, feel free to spread the word about our campaign on social media, email, text, What'sApp, with random people you meet on the train to work - it really does help!
  4. Pledge: If you already know you want to back our campaign, let us know on this Google form how you want to help and we can keep you updated!

Thank you guys for supporting us! We'll be sure to remind you about our campaign as we get closer!

Your Brain and Music

Your Brain and Music

A growing field of neuroscience research suggests that early exposure to musical education at a young age may not only help you get better at music but also help you develop your ability to process speech.

Meet Our Founders! First Up Brian!

Starting this week we're going to be doing a two part blog post profiling our co-founders, Brian Carter and Gilbert Resendez. We hope you really enjoy getting to know our founders better as we let you take a peek behind he Audibility curtain.

While I (Gilbert) sit next to Brian everyday, I sat down and chatted with him about Audibility's beginnings, business in general, and even his love for Leonardo DiCaprio films.

How did you get the idea for Audibility?

The idea came from a combination of problems that I personally experience.

Problem 1: I lost my hearing at a very young age and have worn hearing aids my whole life. After I heard about how much lack of access there is to hearing aids (only 1 in 40 in need has access) I wanted to do something to give back.

Problem 2: While I don’t hear well, I can hear well enough to listen to music with earphones. With that said, I would put on earphones and immediately regret it because they would be so uncomfortable and fall out all the time. After wearing hearing aids my whole life, I knew that I could wear something comfortably all day long, which only made standard earphones that much more disappointing.

Problem 3: Tons of people experience Problem 2.

With these problems in mind, I worked with my co-founder to build a business model that solves these problems. Enter Audibility, a headphone company that focuses on the development of customized headphones and other personalized audio equipment. With each sale, the business donates directly to the Hear the World Foundation to improve access to hearing aids worldwide. 

How has Audibility evolved since its first conception, and what is your favorite accomplishment with the company so far?

Audibility started as a mere business idea, comprised mostly of wild guesses about how one could build a headphone company with a giving model. Since then, our team has embarked on a journey to actually produce a product, put it in people’s ears, get feedback, and try and take it to market. Audibility has grown from a concept to an established business with a product ready for development in just over a year. I’d say my favorite accomplishment to date has been becoming a recipient of the Startup PDX Challenge. This gave us funding along with office space for the year!

You and Gilbert are pretty young. Given that, many people your age may be thinking, "I’ll just finish college and go to graduate school or get a job and think about starting a business later". Why did you choose to launch a business now?

I think your early twenties is the best time to fail. There’s no need to leave a career or bring the stress of a start-up home to a family with kids. There’s so little to lose, and those who are fresh out of college or grad school are also those with the most ambition, passion, and creativity as they step foot into the “real world” for the very first time. No matter what happens, the experience of starting a business is an extremely rewarding learning experience that will hold tremendous value in any future pursuits. Plus, if it works out, you’ll be working on something you love and will have the opportunity to share that with others. You might even pay off your student loans!

In college you were fairly involved – your activities include countless volunteer activates, dorm service coordinator, RA, and even spent a summer in Africa on a service project. How have those experiences shaped you and your views on entrepreneurship?

A lot of my volunteer and service experiences have focused on sustainable development.  The goal of any sustainable development project I developed was to create something that enabled others to empower their own community and take ownership of positive change. When it comes to entrepreneurship, my experiences have led me to always reflect and ask “what can I do that makes it easier for others to do the right thing?” If your business creates an opportunity for others to do the right thing, then you’re doing it right.

Brian on his service trip in Kenya!

Brian on his service trip in Kenya!

What advice would you give to people who want to start a business while in college or graduate school?

If you’re set on starting a business while in school, consider it a great learning experience! The academic environment is full of resources to help you learn and get started on what it takes to start a business. Use your status as a student to get out in the real world and ask as many questions as possible. People are always much more willing to set aside time to speak with students (even the competition). But make sure you’re saving time for school too, that degree might be important.

What advice would you give young grads who are thinking about starting their own business?

It’s always wise to pursue your passions, but you should be aware that there are several avenues for doing so. Starting a business is just one of those, and its not meant for everyone. Make sure you understand the financial weight of your decisions, and don’t be afraid to ask for help to make your dream come true. People will provide invaluable feedback as to whether your idea is worth putting everything on the line for, so be sure to listen, and don’t be too stubborn if you hear something you don’t like. If you feel ready to go for it, you’re not, but you’ll at least know where to start and have a strong enough vision to figure the rest out with time.

When you aren’t working on Audibility or busy with graduate school, what do you like to do for fun?

I sleep, a lot, and drink a lot of coffee at local coffee shops. The two don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand but I somehow make it work. I’ll also go on the occasional day-tip to the coast or Mt. Hood and just enjoy the PNW.

Favorite movie or TV show?

I’m a sucker for any Leonardo DiCaprio movie. My favorite is probably Shutter Island.

Why Leonardo DiCaprio?

Because he's a good actor, and he only chooses to star in roles he knows he can pull off. Plus he's an amazing director - I want him to direct more films. 

Would you say there’s a particular book that’s helped shaped your worldview particularly relating to business and entrepreneurship?

I really resonate with Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom. It’s a good reminder to not take life so seriously, especially business.

Do you have any secret talents?

If I told you it wouldn’t be a secret. But my lesser known talents include my ability to play the piano, guitar, and euphonium.

If you could have coffee with a famous celebrity, who would it be and why?

That answer changes every month, but right now Adele is my current fad. Why her? Because she’s Adele.

Anything else for our readers?

Ask yourself this. “Am I signed up for Audibility newsletters?” If the answer is no, do that now at audibilityheadphones.com!

If you want to stay updated on all things Audibility, follow us on Twitter & Instagram, like us on Facebook, and sign up for email updates. Also, be sure to check in with our blog from time to time.

Lastly, check in next week to hear from our other founder, Gilbert!


New Year, New Start - Portland Development Commission Reception

As many of our followers know, Audibility was selected for as a winner of the Portland Development Commission's Startup PDX Challenge. As a part of winning the Startup PDX Challenge, Audibility and the other winners were honored at a an event held this past Tuesday. It was an exciting evening of networking and getting to meet the Portland community.

Among the attendees were Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith. Loretta Smith talked about the importance of programs like Startup PDX that encourage and promote diversity in business especially in Portland.

It was inspiring to partake in this event and be a part of a vibrant and growing startup community in Portland. It's great to know we're in a wonderful community where we can build up our operations.