Are you going to be my… breadwinner?
This weeks blog came from a suggestion from a regular reader of the blog who wanted to know my opinions regarding music on adverts, so here we go . . .
Songs featured on adverts have helped launch a whole cacophony of musician’s careers and are responsible for more one hit wonders then I could care to mention, but how often is it that someone actually makes a solid career out of it?
The blog title is a reference to your favourite aussie rockers and mine; Jet. When ‘Are you gonna be my girl’ first hit the screens as the soundtrack to that shiny Vodaphone advert, the whole nation was pretty much hooked and I’m no exception. I thought, and still think, that it’s a cracking track and I can honestly say I can’t see me ever not dancing to it when I’ve had umpteen pints and it gets played on a Monday night in the Leadmill. Because of that song, I both bought the album and went to see them live, both of which were mediocre at best (and they were actually one of the supports for Aerosmith this weekend but I very wisely went to watch ‘Kids In Glass Houses’ instead). Although I wasn’t impressed by them, I believe Jet are a band who ‘outgrew’ the advert that made them famous, so in that sense, it worked for them.
Then you get Wolverhampton’s infamous Babylon Zoo. Spaceman: The track that’s interesting and quirky for 30 seconds with the crazy little voice but then becomes infuriatingly bad for the next 3 minutes. At the time, it was the fastest selling single ever, it then went on to stay at number 1 for 5 weeks selling, get this, 893,000 copies!
But have they lost out? Babylon Zoo are basically now in our memories just for us to take the mick out of them when we’re all having a pint, (“oh yeah, I remember that, I actually bought it!”) but selling that many records may have made him a few pretty pennies. That’s if he kept hold of his copyright of course.
Having your music synched with adverts is incredibly lucrative and can be worth a load of cash, especially if you’re an unsigned or new act. Lets be honest, if you can barely get together the petrol money for that gig in Widnes, it’s going to be hard to turn down 14k for your best song to be used on a Ribena advert isn’t it?
I think that’s where the bigger question comes in: once a band is financially stable and doesn’t really need the money anymore, is selling your music to multinational conglomerates for them to use on their new car adverts considered ‘selling out’?
What is selling out anyway these days? Bob Dylan is selling his records in Starbucks! STARBUCKS! The voice of a nation, neigh, a generation, is selling his records at faceless, corporate, soulless, delicious Starbucks! (which reminds me I need to do a blog about them selling music). John Lydon appearing on ‘I’m a celebrity…’, again, what the hell is that about?
I’ve gone off the point here a bit, sorry.
So does the product that your music will be synched with matter? If I was a songwriter, and someone really cool like BMW approached me as they wanted to use ‘Love will tear you a new one’ on the new mini advert and for that they’d give me £5k and a brand new mini cooper s with the john cooper works on there. I’m not going to lie; I think I’d struggle to say no.
One of Sentric’s artists ‘The Alphites’ are going to be on Hollyoaks in the next few weeks, (and although not an advert, a similar argument applies) and it’s going to be interesting to see the effect it has on their career. The Alphites know who their key demographic is and Hollyoaks is quite simply quintessential to their target audience’s lives; so why should they not do it?
What do you lot think?
I am in no way a music snob. If I like it I like it. Be it rock, pop, hip hop, jazz, blues, acid house, Christian rock etc, so I genuinely don’t think if a songs been on an advert its going to change my perception of it.
I’d still buy Muse even if they were advertising Cillit Bang
What I’m listening to this week: Jack Penate (saw him last week and he was ace live. Got a right set of pipes on him) and Zed Bias