Man Behind the Iconic Apple Mac OS Startup Sound & So-Sue-Me Legend

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
By OP Editor

What does Sosumi reminds you of? Japanese cuisine? Apple sound designer Jim Reekes, the man behind the iconic Mac OS startup sound explains in this video interview.

Jim Reekes, Man Behind the Iconic Apple Mac OS Startup Sound, So-Sue-Me Legend

Video: Apple Mac OS Sound Designer on Iconic Startup Sound & So Sue Me Sound

Interview with is in English, with a very brief intro in what’s probably Dutch.

10 minutes version:

Full interview, 57 minutes:

Apple Startup Sound NOT Iconic! It’s Actually Ear-conic!

Composer Jim Reekes describes the work involved and thinking behind the two and a half second Mac OS startup sound, which contains “a lot of thick, rich sonic textures behind it. It’s in stereo sound, fades back and forth, there’s a little bit of a stereo reverb” and more.

“It had enough richness in it that it would sound recognizable no matter how you played it.” Jim Reekes said.

His sound is even immortalized in the Pixar motion picture Wall-E.

Regarding the recognizable nature of his Mac OS startup sound creation, Reekes hints his humor side. He said instead of iconic, the Mac startup sound can be considered “ear-conic!”

Let It Be, Let It Beep!

Jim Reekes also explains the story behind Sosumi.

Back in the days, the Beatles (Apple Records) was suing Apple Computers Inc. for anything related to music. The reason being that Apple Records believes customers might somehow confuse Apple Computers with music from the Beatles’ Fab Four.

Sosumi is a witty attempt to bypass a lawsuit.

When he created the sound in 1989, Apple sound designer Jim Reekes originally called the the xylophone sounding Sosumi Mac system sound “Chime.” But the Apple Legal thinks the name is too musical.

So Reekes immediately joked about changing the Mac system sound to “Let it Beep,” a spoof of Beatles hit song “Let it Be.” Someone took him seriously and said he would never get away with it, so Reekes responded with “so sue me.”

The result is the name “Sosumi.” Reekes speculates that the lawyers did realized what it meant but willing to let it go, with their sense of humor. So-Sue-Me Easter Egg

Decades later, Apple still has a sense of humor. Apple’s website actually has a “So Sue Me” easter egg, with the HTML code of legal section under the css class sosumi.

Apple website Easter Egg, so-sue-me sosumi sound humor

Besides being creator of the iconic Mac startup sound and So Sue Me sound, in an interview with BoingBoing, it is revealed that Jim Reekes’ sound is also used by Steven Spielberg in Jurassic Park (when the computer restarts).

Interview with the creator of the Apple startup sound [tuaw]


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