Q-Tip, St. Vincent, And Gary Clark Jr. Share Their Love Of Music In Sonos’s New Campaign

Finally, you can learn how a crate-digging vinyl collector like Q-Tip feels about streaming music.

The way we listen to music has changed a lot in the past decade, but those changes have been both amazing (Spotify/Tidal/iTunes!) and kind of a bummer (your laptop speakers are not how that song was meant to be heard). There are plenty of ways to mitigate the fact that all of the easily accessible music we can now enjoy at a touch of a finger is too often played on speakers that sound like crap, but few that treat all of this new technology as an opportunity to innovate the listening experience itself.


To explain the company’s approach in using technology to help us take in that unprecedented number of songs, Sonos tapped a trio of musicians who know what they’re talking about: Q-Tip, St. Vincent, and Gary Clark Jr. In three ads, they each explain how the transformational technology that is digital music has affected them. Q-Tip by giving every kid on his block access to the same music library he spent his life building, St. Vincent by finding new ways to bring every song ever written to life, and Clark by having the ability, through Sonos, to control what plays on every speaker in his house to better fit his mood.

Sonos chief marketing officer Joy Howard–who made Fast Company‘s 2014 Most Creative People list for her work with Patagonia–explains in a blog post that these endorsements came about because the artists in question are genuine Sonos enthusiasts: “When Q-Tip suggests we show people how easy it is to to use the app, I invite him to do just that. When Gary Clark Jr. leaves the studio every night and goes home to play back the day’s work on Sonos, he’s using our product as the gold standard of listening out loud,” she writes, adding that the company has kept those collaborations under wraps to avoid the appearance of “borrowing cool,” an all-too-common practice. “Maybe that basketball player really did help design that razor and perhaps that musician flavored that water. Who knows?”

The spots manage to walk the right side of that line here–Q-Tip opening up about his jealousy toward kids who grow up with easy access to music he had to hunt for helps–and they certainly show off ways that changing technology can make music listening as satisfying as music discovery.

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.