August 16, 2023 Sam Parvin

BEING vs. DOING: How to Create Transformational Work

It was my employee’s birthday last week. She took the day off, and it’s making me present to how much of the “doing” she takes on in the business – the #operations and #administration of running a business. Since she joined the company, it’s allowed me to really engulf myself in the creativity, the thinking…what I call being the space for #problemsolving and #newideas.

In this article, I’ll explore the roles of the “doing” and “being” in music for brands projects and, tactically, how we can make a few very small adjustments to support that work. You can read more in my articles about the types of results that are possible when we do this critical thinking strategic work. For example, here.

It’s crucial to give space to the “being” before the “doing” if we want to create something transformational. But what does this look like, being versus doing…?

Being –

Playing, bouncing around ideas, considering any ways that we might solve a problem without editing ourselves. It’s listening to music that could seem out of left field. It certainly can include actually taking some actions, like creating demo ideas, syncing tracks to picture, and it will also require some thinking, but the intention here is to allow an air of “let’s explore” without trying to fix.

More and more, it’s easy to find people who can execute – on music and on many other things. What’s most valuable is this being phase that encourages an even sub- or unconscious shared truth to emerge that will touch people at their core.

Doing –

This is taking the actions that are going to give us the tangible result of the idea we’ve already fleshed out. Often this is quick and easy – IF we’ve given sufficient space to allowing the creative idea to fully develop beforehand. This is also composing and recording music, syncing to picture… but now with the intention of getting a final “physical” product.

We’ve all heard people say that most entrepreneurs call it quits on a business just before they were about to have a big breakthrough. I’d say the same can be said about creative ideas or expressions of those ideas. Often we settle on the idea that comes just before an idea that could have changed the world.

Where is the BEING Happening Now?

In a typical process, a brand and creative agency are having conversations that link the brand strategy to the creative. Music may or may not be part of that conversation, may or may not include strategy choices (only creative), and I’d say rarely includes music experts in that conversation.

Once the idea is baked,

  • The agency briefs 3-4 “music houses” (in the case of composing original music).
  • Each music team gets $500ish to make an idea.
  • They compete against each other for who’s idea wins.
  • The final “winner” gets a large check for tens of thousands of dollars+.

The main issue here is that the incentives and resources are not aligned to prioritize this spacious being, thinking and exploration phase. And it just requires a few small adjustments to encourage this work and, ultimately, to get more out of music.

So – How Could we Encourage the BEING in Music for Branded Content?

Here are a few easy ways I see that we can ensure we’re not leaving out a great idea and that the idea is relevant… powerful…. and even transformational.

1. Have a “Thinking” or “Strategy” phase, with your music partner, before jumping to execution.

  • Give it the space it needs. It doesn’t necessarily take tons of time; it more so requires tapping into being the space and intuitive knowing.
  • Entertain even the ridiculous and far-flung ideas.
  • Often identifying what we don’t want can lead us to what we do want.

In our business, we have a two-phase first part of doing this for every project.

2. Work with one music partner who has access to (and knowledge of) all talent, versus working with many music vendors who are each being briefed separately.

  • Briefing several different vendors means you forget what information you shared (and didn’t) with each, you get tired of all the back and forth, and information gets lost… #telephone
  • Talent gets less money and less information and less chance of winning the “big prize”, so they spend less effort and creative juices on their ideas. #ItsTrueWhetherYouLikeItOrNot

3. Shift Time and Money to the Strategy + Demos

This is where I think we can make the most difference. Note: It does not necessarily mean spending more money or time, just re-allocating it.


Instead of…

  • $2k and 4 days for demos upfront and
  • $68,000 for the winning idea

Do this:

  • $20k and 2 weeks upfront, which includes demos AND a strategy phase, and then
  • $50,000 for the final music and IP.

(Total $70k either way.)

This way, we can mix ideas and talent together if need-be to get the right song, which your music partner can much more easily do because they have more budget to allocate to bringing on the write people, and you’re working with one partner instead of scattered talent across companies. It’s a sticky situation to be in if you get two different demos from two totally different companies, and you want to take some ideas from one demo and some from another and put them together….

MASSIVE BONUS: When you work with one music partner to solve a problem, you’re able to partially lean on them to be responsible for the music being effective. This is huge. This is when music starts being a valuable, business-building tool.

In short: Consider making a few small shifts to reflect the importance of the upfront being. Execution will run more smoothly and music will be more valuable to the project.

I’d like to know –

How are you giving space to both the being and doing? What ideas do you have / where do you see you could support this more in your organization?


Sam Parvin

Samantha Parvin - Owner, Parvin Music Over the last 13 years, Samantha Parvin has built three successful music for brands companies, has created and licensed music for the most recognized brands in the world, and has redefined what’s possible by connecting some of the world’s best musical talent with brands, globally. Samantha Parvin, Owner Parvin Music Her work in one of the best audio recording facilities in the US (Doppler Studios) and in Sales and Marketing at an international software company (Blackbaud Inc.) prepared her to accept a position as Global Music Consultant for The Coca-Cola Company at their headquarters in Atlanta, GA, where she helped “The Most Recognized Brand in the World” understand what’s possible with music, across the globe. Since then she has built two successful music licensing and original composition companies, has won over 30 internationally-recognized awards including two Cannes Lions, and has had the pleasure to support brands like GMC, Corona, Dos Equis, Maker’s Mark, Procter & Gamble and more. Now as Owner of Parvin Music, a music licensing and composition agency, Samantha is focused on working very closely with a small roster of clients to elevate creativity, advocate for the rights of independent musicians, and provide opportunities for the best talent to create art with brands.

Leave a Reply