How Music Connects Our Remote Team

Staying connected to your team while working remotely is critical for success. We’ve all had those days of being heads down on projects and transacting over Zoom all day, but when you reflect on the moments, there were very few genuine connections made. If you look for recommendations on staying connected as a remote team, there are a handful of common themes that pop up: over communicate when it comes to expectations, turn video on, be open and honest with feedback, and find moments of fun with the virtual team. I agree with all of these, but the advice is so high level that it can sound generic.

As I look for ways to connect our music tech team, drilling down on something the team cares about as a connective thread is a key approach. For us here at Feed Media Group (FMG), that theme is readily apparent: MUSIC. So many of us are here in part because the company represents such a unique opportunity to merge a personal passion with professional skills. Music is a connector for us and drives what we do every day on the business side, but gives us a jumping off point for connecting personally as well.

So, how does music work to connect humans in general? We know that music strengthens social bonds in many different ways. One of those is increasing cultural cohesion. Music impacts neurons involved in empathy, trust, and cooperation and ultimately leads to coordination and communication according to this study. Whether it’s playing music in a group together, discussing favorite bands or past live experiences, or dancing in rhythm together, music’s ability to strengthen bonds is the same.

When we discover that someone likes a piece of music that we like, we tend to think better of them—as if musical preference had a deeper meaning than just entertainment. In fact, studies have shown that people associate musical taste with holding certain values, and that this assumed connection between music and values influences how much we think we’ll like someone based on their musical tastes.

In recent years, cross-genre music listening has become the norm, but bonding over the love of an artist is still a powerful moment. When I was an adolescent, your particular musical taste and the bands you idolized defined who you were and often who you hung out with. I had a few different crews that I ran with, but each one was definitely built around the artists we listened to. The art club crew was listening to the Cure, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, and lots of moody first wave bands. My crew of skaters was into golden era hip hop (Tribe, Wu Tang, Souls of Mischief) and the band geeks I played music with loved prog rock and listened to lots of Rush. Especially as we were maturing and building out our social space in the world, those musical affiliations meant everything.

Turning back to our experience at FMG – we have built a collective of insanely smart, passionate music lovers and technologists and I love to see all the cross-genre sharing that goes on daily. We program music for businesses and customers that span all walks of life, so it’s our job to be up to date on every genre and also adept at finding the crossover moments that matter. On a given day, our new music Slack channels will see shares about the new Pusha T release, an upcoming country show, and the relative merits of the latest Harry Styles tracks. For me, personally, it’s incredibly fun to stay abreast of what’s happening in music through the eyes and ears of a remote team of musicologists. And, I know I’m not alone in the company in terms of the value we get from the ongoing flow of music and music insights.

Below are just a few examples of those connection moments that the team shared with me.

When Eric “Stens” Stensvaag (Senior Curator) first joined the company, we immediately connected on a love and respect for the Wu Tang Clan and golden era hip hop in general. His passion and fandom are next level and inspired our Slack icons for Wu Tang, as they are often needed in conversation.

Director of Ops Rory Hibbler was shocked when she joined and told the group about Salmonfest, a small music festival up in Alaska she attends every year.  “I’ve never had coworkers before that are as excited about this kind of thing as I am!”

When Tiffany Sirikulvadhana (Head of CS) was visiting curators Mike Savage and Juan Hernandez-Cruz in LA last year, naturally they made a live show part of the visit. 

Whether it’s music, cycling, coding, gardening, or cooking, finding those passion points that connect your remote team will make all the difference. Personally, I’m so excited to have live music back in partial swing again so I can round up some colleagues and share a favorite artist with them.

Feed Media Group is for businesses that need licensed popular music to create the most engaging customer experiences. Unlike navigating complex, time-consuming negotiations with music labels and publishers, Feed Media Group’s proprietary streaming platform and SDKs deliver pre-cleared music—compiled by the industry’s best curators—complete with user analytics, payments to rightsholders, and legal indemnification for our customers. powers music for the world’s leading brands including American Eagle Outfitters, Mayo Clinic, Mirror, Nautilus, and Tonal; and up-and-coming startups use Adaptr to create unique music-based experiences. Our music partners include Warner, BMG, and Merlin.