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TV Killed The Radio…Or Was It The Internet?

December 29, 2008

Bands and artists have been fueling marketing with obvious songs for years, some of the most memorable being “My ADIDAS” by Run DMC, and “Air Force Ones” by Nelly. These songs were quickly adopted and used by the companies that they spoke about for obvious reasons.

Having songs made into jingles for ads is a very lucrative opportunity, and doesn’t always require a truly original or inspirational song, just a catchy chorus and beat. Not that I can speak for all artists, but in general I don’t remember hearing so many songs that fit SO well into ads in recent years, possibly indicating songs on albums being written with the intention of being licensed out for ads. An example of this that the New York Times pointed out was that was up and coming superstar Santogold, who licensed three quarters of her recently released album for ads, video games and soundtracks.

Licensing out songs used to be one of the biggest keys to “selling out” in the music business, but with just about everyone from Beyonce to AC/DC and Aerosmith doing it, its hard to call it anything but smart business. In the wake of Napster, and all the other sources for free music on the Internet, record sales are signifigantly down in the past decade. So musicians are looking for other streams of revenue.

Advertisements mostly used to choose big name artists, and their famous songs to represent their product on TV, using the artists success to try to propel their product. Recently though, a lot of artists have been trying to become more famous and augment their record sales by getting their songs into ads. This is very true of iPod ads, that almost always boost the artists to pop fame because of the popularity of the iPod ads already. Below is an iPod ad with a song by the Fratellis, who I had never heard until I saw this ad, and I went and downloaded the song after I saw the ad.

I understand why musicians are beginning to license out more and more of their albums for commercial reasons, but I am worried that it is going to begin to take more and more away from the quality of the music, because it won’t be being made for music’s sake. And if this trend continues, will a line be crossed to stop companies from hiring people to make their entire album just for commercial use?

One Comment leave one →
  1. guidosoundadvice permalink
    January 2, 2009 11:30 pm

    We are well beyond salvation my friend
    The Armageddeon of the tradiotnal music industry has begun.
    they will drive the licensing aspect into the ground until it too is mere dust
    and along with that the quality of music, it’s already in motion and is only a matter of time. Wait until you see what Summer 2009 brings!


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