Arguably the most comforting sound of the modern age is that ‘ta-dum’ you hear every time you load up Netflix. You know the one, the sound that rings out along with the streaming service’s logo and opening animation.

Well, it turns out this semi-tune was nearly very different to the one you know and love today. As revealed by vice president of product Todd Yellin, Netflix was very close to choosing the sound of a goat bleating. No, seriously.

In an interview for Twenty Thousand Hertz’s podcast, Yellin told host Dallas Taylor: “I liked the sound of a goat.

Yellin explained that they needed a sound that was ‘cinematic’ and not ‘electronic’, adding: “The thinking was shouldn’t we have a sound that when you hear that, it makes you think, ‘Wow, I’m about to get a treat, I’m about to get an amazing story that’s relevant to me.'”

“It was funny, I thought it was quirky and it was our version of [MGM’s] Leo the Lion. And so for a while we were stuck on that goat sound. I thought that would be a good time.”

Netflix intro sound was almost a goat
Netflix intro sound was almost a goat

According to Yellin, while coming up with its new intro, the company was growing as an online platform and so needed a distinctive soundbite that would match all kinds of genres.

You can’t argue that a goat’s bleating is distinctive. Other options included bubbles ‘from the depths of the ocean’.

Yellin explained that they needed a sound that was ‘cinematic’ and not ‘electronic’, adding: “The thinking was shouldn’t we have a sound that when you hear that, it makes you think, ‘Wow, I’m about to get a treat, I’m about to get an amazing story that’s relevant to me.'”

They eventually settled on the ‘ta-dum’ after it proved a hit with focus groups comprising participants who didn’t know what the noise was for.

The groups said it sounded like something you’d hear before a film, attaching the words ‘dramatic’, ‘interesting’, ‘beginning’, ‘good’ and ‘movie’ – meaning it was a no-brainer for the Netflix team.

Netflix Playback Speed button
Netflix Playback Speed button

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Yellin’s reaction now, knowing what he knows? “Thank god I didn’t go with the goat.”

Another interesting bit of Netflix trivia is that the shortlist of options was compiled by Oscar-winning sound designer Lon Bender, who also created the now-famous audio logo.

His design debuted on the streaming service back in 2015, to which Netflix said at the time: “Starting today, there’s a new logo animation before our originals.

“It shows the spectrum of stories, languages, fans and creators that make Netflix beautiful – now on a velvety background to better set the mood. And before you ask: No, the sound isn’t changing.”

We can only imagine how the news would’ve been received had they gone for the goat option.

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