Last week we talked about ways to fund your efforts through corporate sponsorships.
Let's discuss the ramifications today.
We quoted an article authored by Jessica Hopper last week which I think is an incredible read. Maybe take a look at that before we trudge onward.
These days, getting a song placed on a commercial, in a movie, in a video game or on a television series has proven to be a career-defining move for a wide variety of performers, from Lou Reed and Nick Drake to San Cisco, the Black Keys and Arctic Monkeys.
Music placement in film, television, and advertisements has quickly become a significant revenue source for musicians and the music industry. Most importantly, it has become a new platform for A&R and allows the opportunity for relatively unknown artists to break. Any genre of music has a place on film and TV, but the most licensable music tends to be of the indie, electronic, rock, singer-songwriter, and pop varieties.
As far as fan management, it used to be that hardcore fans cringed when they heard thirty second samples of their favorite band’s music in a television ad. It's almost as if being commercially viable completely removes the indie vibe from the equation or excludes indie artists from some imaginary underground fraternity. These days, a song in a commercial is more likely to attract fans than drive them away. In fact, many fans actually discover music through television ads, film and television soundtracks and popular video games.
Indie purists are vehemently opposed. One need only peruse the comments sections of some of the more popular indie music blogs to see the distaste associated with ad placement of their favorite songs. And that presents a conundrum of sorts. You never like to lose a few fans, but you have to eat, too. The whole starving artist thing doesn't seem so underground hip and indie cool when you're the starving artist. And, it's fair to assume that fans who do love your band for the purity of your music tend to forget that a band is a business with real expenses, real profit and loss margins and a real need to fund a very expensive entity that more often than not costs a lot more to run than it returns.
The underlying question remains - art for art's sake or crass commercialism? And apparently (and unfortunately), it's a fine line with no filter. Some purists even scoff at music videos that are anything but recorded, live performances. How dare you feed yourself?
You can find songs from Lust For Life by Iggy Pop in dozens of placements. Nick Drake, too. Does that mean they've sold out? Nick Drake has been dead since 1974 and in 1974 most advertising campaigns, if not all advertising campaigns, revolved around fifteen second jingles designed to earworm the listener into buying their products. You may remember "Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz, oh what a relief it is...... " or "Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun......." yada, yada, yada.
An aside here: The Alka-Seltzer jingle, "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz......." was written by Paul Marguiles, father of actress Julianna Marguiles. You may use that bit of trivia to win yourself a beer next time you are out among friends.
I may be wrong, but the first commercial placement of a popular song that I can remember is Anticipation by Carly Simon for Heinz Ketchup. The Hillside Singers recorded an expanded version of I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony) after it originally found success as a 1971 jingle for Coca-Cola's Buy The World A Coke campaign.
The best of the very few ad jingles still running include ads for State Farm, Empire Carpets and those Free Credit Report (dot com) commercials. We've come a long way, baby, to get where we've got to today. I guess indie musicians put a lot of jingles writers on unemployment. Maybe those jingles writers are the ones who started the "selling out" smear campaigns directed at indie artists.
It wouldn't be that shocking. A jingle creator can make as much as $180,000 for a single song, or more than $500,000 if the tune is a hit and gets repeat licensing, according to a profile of one jingle production company in The Los Angeles Times.
Maybe you need to hold out for more dough if you are approached about synch licensing.
"And what do you say about Irving Berlin and Cole Porter, and all the other songwriters who wrote songs specifically for movies, or worse (from a purist’s point of view), rewrote songs so they would fit a particular movie scene? They were engaged in a commercial enterprise; if they also created art, well, that was a happy byproduct. Even Franz Schubert, creating his art-songs in early 19th century Vienna, meant for those songs to get his name out there, so he would both have something to play at parties (his Schubertiades, as they were known) and something that could be published and perhaps bring in a few shekels, because god knows the symphonies weren’t doing it for them. "
[Quote via David Dye of WNYC Soundcheck]
In the end, what does commercial placement ultimately mean? It means three things: New audiences are discovering your music, you are getting paid for licensing of your music, and you are ultimately selling more music. Selling music, therefore, must equate to selling out. As I said, how dare you feed yourself?
THIS WEEK'S TOP FIVE LIST
Top five earwormers (commercial jingles) of all time.
- Empire Carpets -- "Just call 588-2300, Empire......."
- State Farm Insurance -- "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there."
- Bain de Soleil -- "Bain de Soleil for the Saint-Tropez tan."
- Oscar-Mayer Hot Dogs -- "Oh I wish I were an Oscar-Mayer Wiener......"
- Alka-Seltzer -- "Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz Oh what a relief it is....."
THIS WEEK'S FACEBOOK FRIENDS
I know it's shameless advertising, and sorry, we have no catchy jingle, but it's us. It's Cyber Monday. If you want to do something nice for the holidays, why not buy your favorite band a Jivewired Digital One Sheet or give your favorite indie fan a Jivewired T-Shirt?
In the meantime, Facebook Friend us right here, please and thank you.
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
Where Not To Look For Freedom by The Belle Brigade
ABOUT THE MONDAY MIX
The Monday Mix airs from Noon to 5:30PM CDT each Monday and is designed to help you get through that brutal after-lunch, energy-sucking span that kicks off every work week. This particular show will be a mix of old, deep album cuts and new indie music with a lot of genre crossover. No Adele. Sorry.
What else does The Monday Mix do? Well, it helps you discover new indie music by combining some really great under the radar tracks with more established songs that were, once in fact, under the radar as well. The hope here is that the culture shock of discovering your next favorite band won't be so enormously imposing if we surround the new stuff with some of your old, familiar friends.
Jivewired supports independent musicians by paying royalties for airplay on Jivewired Radio. Please help us support indie artists by listening to our station and by purchasing indie music. Thank you. The links on the radio player will give you download options if you really dig on the music and some of the songs are offered for free.
To listen, just press play on the radio widget to the right or use this link to open in a new window that will allow you to listen when you navigate away from this page:
Launch Jivewired Radio
MONDAY MIX PLAYLIST FOR 25 NOVEMBER 2013
- The Paper Trench by Admiral Fallow
- Losers by The Bell Brigade
- Hold That Thought by Ben Folds Five
- Breakers by Local Natives
- Ain't No Stranger by Lee Bains III & Glory Fires
- Remember Last Time by Avi Buffalo
- Strange Transmissions [Chillout Mix] by Norah Jones & Peter Malick
- Still Left To Roam by Grazzhopper
- Hello Narwhal by TAUK
- Tetop by The McLovins
- I'm Writing A Novel by Father John Misty
- The Only Place by Best Coast
- Busted Up by The Replacements
- Catch Me Now by American Dreamers
- I Believe In You by Sinead O'Connor
- Man by Neko Case
- Curtains Drawn by Crown Point
- Sacrilege by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
- Laid by James
- Where Not To Look For Freedom by The Belle Brigade
- Heart Of Colifax by Andy Palmer
- Way Down Now by World Party
- Maria by Dr. Pants
- Wrapped Around Her Finger by Mikey Ohlin
- Christmas Katie by Widespread Panic
- Good Change by The Big O Trio
- Caledonia Blue by Chloe Johns & Justin Cooper
- Everything Is Embarrassing by Sky Ferreira
- Crying Tree by Fiawna Forte
- Do I Wanna Know? by Arctic Monkeys
- Calm Before The Storm by The Bats
- Sunday by Jet West
- No Control by Pepper
- Justice by Burning Slow
- The Hard Way by Massy Ferguson feat. Zoe Muth
- Between You & Me by Cary Morin
- Good Spirits by Jakob Tovar & The Saddle Tramps
- Strangers by Rache La Vonne
- She Will by Savages
- Yellow Red Sparks by Yellow Red Sparks
- Other Side [Stuck Together Remix] by Atoms For Peace
- Downpour by Lovebettie
- Looking For You by Lannie Flowers
- Sick by Sneaker Pimps
- Be Your Own Machine by The Bourgeois
- Handbag by The Imperial
- Honky Tonk Devil by Craig Plumlee
- Folk Singers by Chris Lee Becker
- Reflektor by Arcade Fire
- Sun by Two Door Cinema Club
- Sinking Ships by Don Gallardo
- Wakin' On A Pretty Day by Kurt Vile
- Does She Know Yet? by Tae Phoenix
- Merry Go Round by Shani
- Wait by Colin Gilmore
- Sorry About Last Night by Wally Dogger
- Uh Oh by Super Water Sympathy
- Before We Run by Yo La Tengo
- Birdhouse In Your Soul by They Might Be Giants
- Here Comes Your Man by The Pixies
- Awkward by San Cisco
- Sitting Still by R.E.M.
- Just A Ride by Jem
- Trip On Love by Abra Moore
- Eyeoneye by Andrew Bird
- Big Love by Matthew E. White
- Hey Hey Hey by The Quick & Easy Boys
- Santa Cruz by Foreign Talks
- This Is Not Love by Well Hung Heart
- Lying To Myself by The Can't Tells
- Part Past Part Fiction by The Chills
- Coming For You by von Grey
- Me & My Guitar by The David Castro Band
- Riot Rhythm by Sleigh Bells
- Dear Madam Barnum by XTC
- Put The Message In The Box by World Party
- For Anyone by Star Anna
- Evil Girls by Escondido
- Little Song by Shauna Burns
- Body & Soul by Goldenboy