One of the questions I asked Lux Lisbon in the interview was about music used in commercials. The question came from Max Bumps contributor and The Sixty One Listener Apocalypse and focused on an artist selling out. It specifically cites a song by the Rolling Stones in a Cadillac spot.
Is it really all about selling out? I don't think so at all. No, I'm not a fan of hearing 'I Melt with You' by Modern English used to sell Cheesy Beefy Melts. As much as that song has been overplayed, I still think it's gorgeous and romantic. Remember Valley Girl? Man, I love that movie. I'm a total child of the 80's and as J. Geils Band would say "My blood runs cold. My memory has just been sold."
Hearing something new is an entirely different story. I tend to have the television on in the background and ignore the visuals unless something catches my ear. Hip music in your ad can make a so-so ad stand out from the rest. It can give an unknown artist a big boost.
Just last night I swear I heard Chris Merritt on a Kia Spectra commerical, performing an unknown song. It was actually Joe Purdy, who I'm pleased to say is uploading music at The Sixty One as I type. He has a great voice with a lot of passion behind it. After a few listens, I don't think it sounds as much like Chris Merritt as I first thought, but I'm so happy to have found Joe Purdy's music, even though I never plan to drive a Kia. Joe Purdy's song in that Kia Spectra Spot made me pay attention. Now, that is a good choice for ad music!
If a commercial can turn me on to a new artist, how can I be opposed to that? My mind is always in discovery mode, especially since I've been at The Sixty One. The site has trained my brain to listen to music more actively and less passively. I've been listening more to genres I've never paid much attention to previously as well. It opened my mind to so much new music.
TV adverts can also give a big boost to an artist. Bishop Allen's Click, Click, Click, Click in Sony Cybershot spots is great example. That was the first time I had heard Bishop Allen and I was immediately hooked. I've noticed ads for tech companies seem to have the best music. Other examples are Motorola Razr spot with Goldfrapp's Ooh La La and Cingular's ad with Cat Power.
Another current ad that I'm in love with the music is Sara Bareilles' Rhapsody Commercial #2. She has a gorgeous voice and I just love that type of pop song. I'm hoping to see some Sara Bareilles at The Sixty One soon.
In the same vein as the Sarah Bareillies song is Yael Naim's New Soul, used in the Mac Book Air spots. Apple's ads are almost always really slick and whoever chooses the music can really pick them. Here are two great examples:
CSS's Music is My Hot, Hot Sex used in ads for the iPod Touch.
The first time I heard Ingrid Michaelson's 'The Way I Am' was in a commercial for Old Navy.
I also like to hear older songs that didn't get the exposure that they might have deserved. For example, Donovan's Catch the Wind was used recently in an ad for GE's alternative energy solutions. I had heard some of Donovan's music - Hurdy Gurdy Man and Mellow Yellow, among others, but I instantly loved Catch the Wind. I picked up Donovan's Greatest Hits and I was really impressed. I LOVE his voice. Plus, he's a Scot and if you read my posts, I have a special corner in my heart reserved for Scots.
So, artists, if you'd like to get a big boost to your career, put your song in an ad for Apple or HP. Listeners will not thing you've sold out and new listeners will appreciate the ease of finding you.
If you're interested in finding more ad music, check out Splendad.com.