Talk to Social Sound System about their origin story and you’ll hear an epic tale of car-sleeping, camping in Angeles National Forest, cross-country friendship, and preternatural music savvy. Xavier Ramirez and Alex Zurowski have been working together for years, helming their digital branding agency. They work with festivals, mobile apps, players in the cannabis industry, but their first client is still their longest-standing: the band Iration.

Though their early work could be classified as that post-Sublime brand of Cali reggae, Iration’s sound has continued to evolve over the years. “They’re all Hawaiian kids,” Ramirez remembers fondly. “They literally had a book of Bob Marley covers and chords. Reggae’s always been their foundation, but they’ve taken the opportunity to incorporate a lot more influences in songwriting: indie, indie synth, hiphop.”


During Ramirez and Zurowski’s stop by ToneDen, they spoke of the simultaneous rise of the band and Social Sound System. “I lived with the guys in Iration,” Ramirez says. “We’d have backyard parties and throw concerts in Santa Barbara and Isla Vista, just a microcosm of 20,000 kids partying. At the time, Myspace was taking off and I started to say, ‘Hey I’ll do this Myspace thing for you guys.’ Then it was this Twitter thing. This Facebook thing. YouTube. The next thing you know, it was paying my student loans.”

Since then, Ramirez and Zurowski have branched out to ace everything from tour marketing and tour advertising to releases. The tool that’s helped them mature without growing pains? ToneDen.

Social Sound System’s relationship with ToneDen stemmed from a cold call — a cold call they were immediately grateful for.

“We run all of our own contests and sweepstakes,” Ramirez says, “and it seemed like you guys were starting to be a one-stop shop with everything. There was an email component, an advertising component, and there was a sweepstakes component, too. We were kind of doing that piecemeal.”

Broad functionality is nice, but what’s imperative is the ability to understand the numbers and pathways that underscore these various functions . “One of the first things I started using [ToneDen] for and one of the main things I still use it for to this day is the tracking links,” says Zurowski. This comes in handy “since we run all the tour marketing ourselves.”

Iration’s Press Play Fall Tour was the perfect opportunity to try out one of ToneDen’s newest features: Tour Announce Playbooks.

With ToneDen’s Tour Announce Playbook, Social Sound System launched a Facebook ad campaign to promote Iration’s upcoming tour. On the day that tickets went on sale, everyone who commented on the announcement post received a message from their Facebook page with a link to buy tickets.

Running this Playbook was a major success for Iration and Social Sound System. By spending just $150, the initial Facebook post reached more than 25K fans: 1,500 engaged with the post.

But the Messenger interaction is where the really remarkable stuff started happening. More than 500 fans replied to the post, and almost 75% of those fans subscribed to Iration’s Messenger list. 78 people clicked on the ticket link.

The Playbooks save time and energy for Social Sound System, but they also expand the marketing agency’s reach. “We kind of use ToneDen to set up individual ad campaigns for every single market but it’s really ramped up how many people we can centralize in ToneDen real fast.”

Part of that has to do with the interconnectivity of ToneDen. “[You] connect the Spotify data with the Facebook with Shopify and audience data and that’s kind of helped us shuffle budgets around to what actually works on any given campaign.” This is what lets Social Sound System recommend ToneDen from everyone to newbie to managers.

ToneDen is one centralized place. If you have a manager, most of them are going to have a hard time signing into all these different platforms.

Ramirez, too, touts the platform’s ease of use. It’s great for bootsrappers and start-ups, he admits, artists who want to run their social marketing themselves. “I’ve had artists asking me all these questions: ‘Have you heard of this site, have you heard of this?’ And I’m like, ‘Just start with ToneDen.’