Netflix’s intro sound—a bass-y thud followed by a wash of reverberation—seems inextricably tied to the streaming service and its programming. It’s inoffensive and simple, pairs well with just about any kind of movie or TV show, and, because the world isn’t fair, was used on its own instead of an older version that featured a bleating goat as the company’s “sound logo.”
The history of the intro noise, which Netflix refers to as the “ta-dum,” is detailed in a new episode of the Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast. Host Dallas Taylor talks to Todd Yellin, Netflix’s VP Of Product, who headed up the project. There’s a lot of detail regarding he process throughout the interview, but most interesting is that, before the sound we now associate with Netflix was chosen, Yellin says his team was considering throwing a goat’s “baa-haaa” into the mix.
“I liked the sound of a goat,” he says. “It was funny, I thought it was quirky, and it was our version of Leo The Lion. And so for a while we were stuck on that goat sound. I thought that would be a good time.”
Taylor says he heard the noise and, while he can’t play it on the podcast, describes it as “very goat-y.”
“It was basically an ending response to the ‘ta-dum” we already know and love,” he adds before replicating what could have been: The Netflix intro noise followed by a goat bellowing.
Yellin describes a lot more about how the noise was created in the episode. He and other sound designers discuss how the sound was meant to be “more cinematic than electronic computer-ish” and the difficulty of creating something abstract and short enough to work for Netflix. The final choice was created by manipulating the sounds of an anvil being hit, a ring tapping on wood, and reversed guitar. While it apparently ticked all the boxes Yellin and Co. had in mind, it is still, sadly, not the herd animal-featuring Winamp successor we came so close to enjoying before every episode of House Of Cards, Mindhunter, or The Crown.
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