How Storefront Music’s Custom Commercial Songcraft Has Not Only Defied the Digital Age, But Thrived In It

Storefront partners Adam Elk (left) and John Sneider (top, right) are world-class musicians who champion the value of authenticity of sound and musicianship

It’s been an adventurous, fruitful, nearly two decades-long journey to get to this hallowed point for Adam Elk and John “Scrapper” Sneider, a pair of world-touring musicians, sonic innovators and commercial composers who serve as the Partners of New York-based commercial music company, Storefront Music.

From the time of their initial collaboration dating back to 2001 at another well-known NYC music shop, Elk and Scrapper have steadily built a highly collaborative partnership. They have established themselves on a global scale through their numerous commercial endeavors, and individual accomplishments as musicians. While their styles may vary, with Brooklyn native Elk leading the influential and long-running prog-pop band The Mommyheads and Scrapper being internationally recognized for his work as a jazz trumpet player and arranger, their collective experience and craftsmanship make them ideal musical partners.

“Whereas most composers are solitary creators, as band guys we naturally enjoyed writing together and quickly became a successful team,” Elk recalls. “We have highly complementary skill sets that allow us to cover most styles convincingly. It’s like making a record every time.”

“We hate fake-sounding shit. If it’s orchestral, jazz, hip-hop, or prog-rock, we don’t want it to sound cheap. We want it to be album quality.”

According to Scrapper, the pair’s authentic creative approach is reflected in the Storefront talent in-house as well as in their creative partners. “Our standards, which have been reinforced by the composers, musicians and engineers that we partner with, are similar to those in the record industry. We like to call ourselves the ‘acoustifriends’, building our brand on authenticity of sound and musicianship. We hate fake-sounding shit. If it’s orchestral, jazz, hip-hop, or prog-rock, we don’t want it to sound cheap. We want it to be album quality. We started Storefront in an effort to have a voice in the creative process from its inception, rather than stand on the sidelines and just pump out tracks.”

Elk and Scrapper’s proactive, determined nature has turned Storefront Music into a highly productive, well-respected company that has consistently grown since its launch in 2012. With a renowned roster that includes in-house composer James Beer, hip-hop/pop producer Vinny Alfieri and longtime EP Alex Fulton, Storefront has been responsible for the sonic direction of many memorable campaigns in recent years. Among those that both Elk and Scrapper consider highlights are their big band-backed work for American Express starring Tina Fey, the modern funk-driven “It’s Apple Time” for Crown Royal with Anomaly and JB Smoove, the orchestral arrangement for the Snickers “Marilyn” spot starring Willem Dafoe, and most recently, a contribution to the highly-acclaimed Universal Love project from McCann New York and Wool& Tusk for MGM Resorts.

Storefront music team with Valerie June and jazz ensemble record “Mad About the Girl” for Universal Love

A collection of traditional weddings songs reimagined for same-sex couples, Universal Love features a variety of notable artists including Bob Dylan, St. Vincent and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie. Storefront partnered with multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Valerie June and album EP Rob Kaplan to reimagine the song, “Mad About the Boy”, as “Mad About the Girl” with an orchestral jazz arrangement and the help of a 20-piece ensemble. “There was confidence that we could deliver an authentic arrangement, true to both the song and Valerie’s sound ,” Scrapper explains. “Needless to say, we were honored to be asked to be part of such an important and relevant project.”

According to Elk, Universal Love reinforces Storefront’s mission as a music company, which includes taking on socially relevant projects such as RPA’s recent “Imaginary Friends Society” campaign for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. Moreover, the Storefront co-founder says that Universal Love reinforces the brand’s commitment to authenticity. “This is an ongoing project for us and we couldn’t be more proud of it. Our competitive advantage is our unwavering dedication to the real thing. The music we deliver is saturated with the hallmarks of human performance, which is something our best clients return to us specifically for.”

The dedication to original songcraft, real, organic musicianship and arrangements have helped Storefront stand out in an age where digitally-driven music production has changed the landscape of commercial composition. “One of the hallmarks of commercial production in the digital age has been to create more content in less time with fewer resources,” Storefront EP Fulton adds. “For boutique content creation shops, that has meant a flood of competition offering giant libraries at lower rates to satisfy the demand. We try to cut through the noise by working on projects that truly require custom-tailored original music which fit the aesthetics of each client’s piece. It’s that treatment that our clients come back for.”

Storefront’s Alex Fulton (top, left) and James Beer (right)

“Our competitive advantage is our unwavering dedication to the real thing. The music we deliver is saturated with the hallmarks of human performance, which is something our best clients return to us specifically for.”

Storefront consistently encourages in-person collaboration between composers and agency creatives. “We invite our clients to collaborate with us at the studio or over skype whenever possible, which often means including creatives in the composition and recording process,” he says. “Having our clients there to help make creative decisions in real-time means that they leave the studio with music that they had a fundamental hand in creating. It also saves weeks of back and forth in the revision process because they are intimate with the elements of the composition and can pinpoint any adjustments necessary.”

As the Storefront Music brand has evolved over the last six years, so have the business and strategic sensibilities of its co-founders, who reveal that the company is eyeing West Coast expansion. “We started out with the confidence that we could write anything, but had basically zero business acumen and faced the daunting task of fostering relationships in our industry,” Scrapper adds. “But we built our brand on the quality of the music and friendships. Now we are writing for companies all over the country and have the machine to handle the work without ever sacrificing anything in quality. This is who we are.”

About Storefront Music
Storefront Music is a boutique music and sound design studio based in New York City, specializing in music for picture. Our music can be heard in advertisements for, American Express, Chevy, AT&T, Nike, CITI and IBM, among other national and international brands.