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Rothco & Warner Music Create Innovative Tool to Help Children with SSD

Rothco, part of Accenture Interactive has teamed up with the global music publishing giant Warner Music Group to help people with speech sound disorder (SSD) by the creation of “Saylists,” an innovative new tool that can be used as part of the speech-language therapy process.

Approximately one in 12 children experience some form of Speech Sound Disorder (SSD). In the field of speech-language therapy, one of the most successful therapeutic strategies is the repetition of difficult syllables, words, and phrases. Repetition can be tedious and draining for children, so Saylists are designed to add a fun and engaging element to that experience.

Centred around commonly challenging speech sounds, ‘CH’, ‘D’, ‘F’, ‘G’, ‘K, ‘L’, ‘R’, ‘S’, ‘Z’, ‘T’, the English-language Saylists contain songs carefully curated by Warner Music for young people (though people of all ages can play them). Rothco, developed an original algorithm that could analyse the lyrics of any song – looking for patterns of repetition typically used to train specific speech sounds. Using the algorithm, Apple Music conducted the data analysis of song lyrics, across the 70m tracks in its catalogue to isolate songs with significant patterns of repetition. Finally,173 songs were chosen by Warner Music and speech and language therapist Anna Biavati-Smith to create the initial 10 ‘Saylists’.

The custom-built Saylists feature tracks such as ‘Don’t Start Now’ by Dua Lipa for the ‘D’ Playlist, ‘Good As Hell’ by Lizzo for the ‘G’ Playlist and ‘Right Here, Right Now’ by Fatboy Slim for the ‘R’ Playlist.

According to Alan Kelly, chief creative officer of Rothco: “Our goal was to help redefine the long and often painstaking journey that young people with atypical speech can experience. Several members of our team who worked on ‘Saylists’ themselves grew up with SSDs, so it’s a personal project as well. We recognised that there is one place where many people enjoy the rhythmic repetition of words and sounds – in music. It was crucial that we could analyse as many songs as possible to present children with something engaging. Pairing this with Warner’s curation meant we could be certain the songs in the ‘Saylists’ will appeal to many different young people.”

“When Warner Music Ireland and Rothco came to us with this idea, everyone at Warner Music got fully behind it. We believe utterly in the power of music and its ability to change people’s lives for the better. Helping people express themselves is at the heart of what we do, and we hope that by creating a therapeutic tool that’s as engaging and accessible as Saylists, we can help anyone who’s struggling with their speech,” says Tony Harlow, CEO, Warner Music UK

According to Anna Biavati-Smith, speech and language therapist: “Every speech and language therapist wants to keep children engaged during the therapy sessions as well as help them generalise the target sounds, both in school and at home. ‘Saylists’ provide a fun, new way to practise the sounds I teach them – without feeling pressured or getting bored. Having fun is the first step to learning.”

Saylists‘ are exclusive to Apple Music and will be available to all Apple Music subscribers globally from today.


Agency: Rothco, Part of Accenture Interactive

Rob Maguire – Concept
Conor Cunniffe – Concept
Shane O’Riordan – Concept
Bronagh O’Donovan – Concept
Rob Maguire – Creative Director
Conor Cunniffe – Copywriter
Shane O’Riordan – Design Director
Bronagh O’Donovan – Strategist
Aisling Clarke – Art Director
Sam Caren – Art Director
Niall Eccles – Developer
Jess Derby – Executive Producer
Hannah Gallagher – Post Producer
Cris Schmidt – Designer, Motion Designer, Editor, Stop Motion Artist
Raphael DaSilva – Designer, Motion Designer, Illustrator, Animator
Gabriel Teixeira – Designer, Motion Designer, 3D Generalist
Paul Power – Video Editor
Ray Swan – Agency Creative Director
Jen Speirs – Executive Creative Director
Alan Kelly – Chief Creative Officer
Richard Carr – CEO | MD Accenture Interactive
Patrick Hickey – Executive Chairman
Zara Flynn – Managing Partner Rothco Accenture Interactive
Sean Cushen – Senior Account Manager
Lauren McNinney – Agency Resource & Operations
Clair Flemming – Agency Resource & Operations

Warner Credits

Derek Allen – SVP Commercial Warner Music Europe
Michael De Lemos – Commercial Director – UK and Europe at Warner Music Group
Elli Brazzill – Playlist Coordinator at Warner Music Group
Priscilla Kotey – Marketing and Promotions Director | Warner Music Ireland


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