Investments | 15.03.2023

Jake Challenor Launches UNIFIED-Backed Strategic Comms Agency, Sound Story

Sound Story — made up of former journalists turned future-focussed storytellers — is dedicated to helping its clients launch, grow, and manage their reputations on the world stage.

The former Publisher of vertical-leading trade media brands The Music Network and Radio Today and Founding Executive Editor of Variety Australia, Jake Challenor, has today launched Sound Story, a strategic public relations and communications agency for ambitious brands disrupting the global entertainment industry.

Sound Story — made up of former journalists turned future-focussed storytellers — is dedicated to helping its clients launch, grow, and manage their reputations on the world stage. Joining the Sound Story team alongside Challenor are Brian Lawlor, General Manager, and Zanda Wilson, Senior Communications Specialist, with offices in both Sydney and Melbourne.

Lawlor has spent a decade working both agency and media-side, leading trade and digital campaigns for a number of prominent music, media and entertainment brands. Wilson, meanwhile, moved into communications in 2021 after a decade as a journalist and editor across multiple consumer and trade publications, including stints at Mumbrella and The Music Network.

With Australian and international clients ranging from modern media companies and live entertainment groups, to leaders in talent management and startups transforming the future, Sound Story is well-positioned to help each client craft and communicate their brand stories.

The agency officially launches today with a number of foundation clients, including Australia’s largest youth publisher, The Brag Media; tourism and live entertainment startup, Cedar Mill Group; the world’s largest K-Pop label, SM Entertainment; talent management powerhouse, Marchmedia; and global music independent, UNIFIED Music Group.

Sound Story is backed by UNIFIED Investments, the investment arm of Jaddan Comerford’s UNIFIED Music Group. Comerford recently appeared on the AFR’s Young Rich List and has made a number of investments in early-stage start-ups, including QR code ordering system Mr Yum, retail technology platform EQL, ticket resale platform Tixel, live entertainment booking platform Muso, and non-alcoholic beer upstart Heaps Normal.

Sound Story’s launch follows Challenor’s departure last month as Executive Editor, B2B at The Brag Media. He was responsible for leading the editorial team across its trade brands, including Variety Australia. The Brag Media acquired The Music Network from Challenor in February 2022. He will continue consulting as Print Editor of the quarterly Rolling Stone AU/NZ magazine.

Challenor said: “We are building Sound Story to support leaders and founders who are disrupting the entertainment industry for the better, and building the blockbuster brands of tomorrow. As a journalist, I found myself writing more and more about many of these organisations in recent years — Australia’s entrepreneurial spirit is truly remarkable.

“As the business of entertainment continues to enjoy exponential global growth, backed by unprecedented investment from both the government and private sectors, the need for an agile, strategic and specialist communications offering has never been greater. Alongside Brian and Zanda, and with the support of UNIFIED Investments, we are ready to muck in.”

Comerford said: “When Jake approached me at BIGSOUND 2022 and presented the idea of Sound Story, I said ‘yes’ on the spot. Sound Story immediately fills a much-needed gap in the market, and his vision aligns with ours as we continue to build an ecosystem for creative talent to thrive. The team’s strategic-first approach, and understanding of how media works from the inside, has already been a great asset to us, and will be for many others as well.”

Sound Story’s core services include Corporate & Crisis Communications, Media Relations & Publicity, Executive Profile Building, Sponsorship Management, and Stakeholder Engagement.

UNIFIED Investments’ partner companies now include The Annex, Lonely Lands Agency, Red Hill Entertainment, Sound Story, STL Tones, and the recently launched Side Stage Ventures.