In conversation with Soundsnap founder Tasos Frantzolas

21 Jul 2017

Here at SAE, we’re always keen to hear about what our alumni are getting up to, and the exciting careers they're forging in the creative industries.

Recently we caught up with London alumnus, entrepreneur and TED talk speaker Tasos Frantzolas.

Tasos is best known as the founder of Soundsnap, a sound effects and music library with over one million users and top clients such as HBO, VICE, Microsoft, Disney and Pixar. Tasos walked us through his career highlights and how he went from SAE student to working with Hollywood sound designers and cutting-edge music producers.

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Tell us about your website Soundsnap?

Soundsnap is an online sound effects library with over 250,000 sounds. We launched in 2007 and have over one million registered users that use our sounds in TV, film, video games, apps, Youtube videos and theatre. We pioneered the Unlimited Downloads model (kind of like Spotify) and have become the worldwide market leader.

How did you get to where you are today - an entrepreneur with world-famous clients?

I come from a family of entrepreneurs - grandparents, dad, mum, uncle, aunt and cousins all ran/run their own businesses - so I grew up with the helpful illusion that I have it in my blood. I also had trouble working for other people so I tried to start something with my passion - audio.  2007 was a great time to start so the website went viral really fast. Clients large or small mostly came to us because we were always trying to do new things within the field and trying to be ahead of the curve.

 

   
 

"Due to the scale and reach of the site, we are essentially influencing how media sounds globally, which is fantastic."

Tasos Frantzolas

   

 

What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

There's been a lot of nice milestones, like reaching one million users... but the biggest 'achievement' for me is that some of my personal favourite companies in the world use the website. Companies like Pixar, Disney, VICE, BBC and Comedy Central are clients. And also some of my heroes, like Butch Vig, the producer of the Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth and Nirvana.

Do you think your time at SAE help you to achieve this?

100%. There's a lot to be said about the quality of the studios and the instructors. However, two things stand out:

1) The real-world strictness and stress that conditions you for the industry.

The studios ran 24-hours a day and there was a penalty system if you were late for your reserved studio time. Being late could mean that you wouldn’t be able to complete a certain exercise. This creates a real-world environment that one faces outside school and makes people instantly more responsible.

2) The London SAE campus is full of people from all over the world.

This helps you build a global network of passionate sound people and means you have friends and contacts anywhere you go.

What’s the best part about your job?

We get to collaborate with some really creative people like amazing designers, smart programmers and the sound designers that create the content. We also see our tools and sounds used by the wizards that create the audio that we hear on film and television. Due to the scale and reach of the site, we are essentially influencing how media sounds globally, which is fantastic.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I briefly started a company outside audio (I got heavily involved with a fashion company). If I had done it all over again, I would have probably stuck with sound the whole way through. Without love and passion it’s hard to succeed. But in the end of the day, my mistakes made me come back much stronger and more determined. So overall, no real regrets.
 

   
 

You can learn more about Tasos by watching his TED talk or by visiting Soundsnap.com