A Note from the Chief Noisemaker: Every once in a while I try to bring in a guest writer to the Sound Bytes blog. This is my first forray into what I hope to become a regular piece. If you’d like to contribute to the blog please contact us we’d love to hear from you.
Advertising though music is not a new concept, it has always been there, in the form of jingles and background music. What is new or gaining acceptance and popularity is the use of corporate advertising to further a bands musical career.
If you are old enough to remember the 80′ you will not have many recollections of major artists endorsing any products. My first encounter was seeing Michael Jackson in a Pepsi commercial and it was a big deal. Granted, he was already an established artist and received a ridiculous amount of money, it was generally considered to be selling out to the corporations. Over time the “selling out” point of view diminished and the benefits to bands began to be seen.
In September 2000 I enrolled at a recording school in Vancouver Canada. During that year I observed a recording session at the school by a former graduate named Jeff Dawson where he was recording our computer tech/drummer for a project of his. About 5 years later I was listening to the radio and the DJ announces the song as the new hit song from a Coca-Cola commercial. I had never seen this commercial or heard the song but it was somehow very familiar. The song was Bad Day by Daniel Powter, produced by Jeff Dawson. I later found out that the ad was aired in France where the song had gained popularity. It was one of the biggest songs that year and the experience was closely followed by all of us at the school. We later had Jeff in to give a talk to our students about the whole experience but the main thing to remember is that up until the use of the song in the ad, they were all just regular guys and musicians working every angle that they could to get their music out there.
What did the ad do for them?
The people involved were all talented musicians and the songs were good but having talent and a good song unfortunately isn’t enough, you need exposure. In Jeff Dawson’s case the song was complete and floating around for years. It took the exposure that Coca-Cola gave it to reach the masses and when it did it exploded!
Now it seems to be common place to have an initial exposure to a band or an artist through advertising, just look at Apple and their iTunes commercials. Not to say that you need to have a major corporation behind you in order to reach stardom but you do need exposure and teaming your art together with a product isn’t a bad avenue to pursue and at the very least, you’ll get paid for your music.
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