Let the mongoose fly…

Every time the “Mongoose” Fu Manchu commercial comes on, I have to rock out. Yes, we are not Tivo people, so I can’t escape the commercials. We have no cable, so all we watch are Netflix DVDs and stuff on the computer, hooked up to the telly. That’s how I saw the “Mongoose ” commercial six times in one night…it’s featured in an episode of “The Office”, and we hadn’t figured out how FF thru commercials yet. Every time I tried, it sent us back to the beginning of the episode, and me into a despairing technology snit. “WHY did we kill our cable? Why again?” (Note: it was because I used “On Demand” as a babysitter, and thought it was just less tempting to make it go away. So we said Grandpop broke the cable while visiting, and they never asked for it again.)

I’m not of the school that thinks using music for commercial purposes is selling out. In fact, as you can imagine, since it pays my mortgage, I’m of the school that whatever helps music gain exposure and puts money in musician’s pockets so they can make MORE music, is a good thing.

With the rise of the 360 record deal, and file sharing somewhat undercutting profits (although not as much as haters would have us believe) musicians are definitely looking for other outlets and ways to stay in business. But I wonder if, as marketers more and more see different variants of music as ways to shill their products, if bands will begin to target music specifically to be picked up for commercial use. “This is the radio single…and this one is PERFECT for that new Dell Laptop commercial…”

I also notice that cars seem to use popular music more than other kinds of marketers…Led Zeppelin with the Caddy CTS, and the Ramone’s Blitzkrieg Bop for the Nissan Frontier. Is that because car marketers have bigger rollout budgets for their campaigns, and can pay the royalties? Or because they know people associate cars so closely with their image of themselves…almost as closely as we associate our taste in music with our self-concept. For that reason, using a specific genre of song is somewhat of a risky move. But if you’re going after a very targeted demographic, I can see it working. When they advertise a car with anything pre-2000 Liz Phair, I’m totally buying it.

What do you think? Commercialization of music: Good or Bad?

Toyota Sequoia

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Comments (8)

  1. KaBinks Monday - 30 / 06 / 2008 Reply
    You know me, I'm 100% about supporting the band. ( but I sure would hate less touring, please, are you trying to kill me here??). That's really interesting about the 360 deals, I didn't know about that. I still get creeped out by the fact that John Fogerty of CCR got sued by a record label for plagiarism because he sounded too much like himself. Time to bring back Daniel Webster to win big against Lucifer Labels!
  2. WPoFD Monday - 30 / 06 / 2008 Reply
    I really, don't mean to be the "all things The Features" guy, but coincidentally I was just reading about this the other day after shaking my head at Modest Mouse for letting their music be used in commercials. I'll get back to The Features in a moment, promise. In the interim, here's why I have a huge problem with bands allowing their music to be used in commercials: because music, for both musicians and fans, is about the experience. So when all of those anti-establishment, damn-the-man, fight the power bands that through their songs espoused not trusting anyone over 30 and standing against capitalism allow their anthems of the 60's to be used to hock insurance, the list of things that immediately die are: 1) Value of your music collection as it becomes the cool song 13 year olds now love 2) Respect for the artist, not to mention regret for the money wasted on them 3) Belief in the moments of your life intrinsically linked to that song 4) Trust that music is a force that shapes our lives Overreacting, am I? For Christ's Sake, KOHLs is using America's "A Horse With No Name" to sell Vera Wang dresses and bed linens. Deep Purple's "Hush" is selling Jaguars. Yea, 60's rock rebellion my ass. Here's a short list of the sell outs: Aerosmith = Sony Alice Coper = Office Max The Beatles = Wal-Mart, Phillips, Eric Clapton = Yahoo! Jefferson Airplane's "Go Ask Alice" is used to sell Xbox games. I used to get high to that song. WHAT THE FUCK?!?! THE FUCKING CLASH & LED ZEPPELIN ARE BEING USED TO SELL PONTIAC!!!! Let's not forget that Modern English has sold the rights to "(I'll Stop the World) Melt With You" to anyone who can make change for a dollar. And my big heart breaker: Sir Mix Alot's Baby Got Back is used to sell Target! Ohhh the humanity. [source: http://rockmaven.com/commercials.htm] (this is my segue back to The Features). Well, while such anti-establishment bands of our lives (as opposed to our parents, for example) such as Modest Mouse, there's one band that said HELL NO! (and went on to sell many albums and cut a new one) The Features Dropped From Label For Refusing To Score Commercial May 1st, 2006 This past week was one of the most difficult ever for us as a band. We had to make an incredibly hard decision that has a direct effect on our future. Earlier this week our record label [Universal] offered us a chance to record a cover song for a large corporation to be used in a commercial. In addition to using the song in the commercial they wanted us to put it on our record and potentially use it as a single. We turned down the offer(knowing the probable consequences), and our record label dropped us. Needless to say, this came at a bad time since we were a week away from recording our next record. At the moment we are weighing all of our options and still plan on recording next month. We will release another record, we just are not sure with what record label. We promise to keep you up to date with new information and as always check back here for new show dates and content. I’m pretty upset about this. Exhibit A was one of the best albums of 2004. And I'm spent.
  3. Susan Monday - 30 / 06 / 2008 Reply
    While I completely understand the selling out aspect, I love hearing good music anywhere I can get it. I dig the They Might Be Giants commercials and frequently find myself googling songs from iPod commercials and whatnot to find new bands (since radio is completely useless on this front). I also appreciate commercials for their entertainment value and think entertainment should come with a soundtrack. Is having a song in a movie or sitcom selling out?
  4. KaBinks Tuesday - 01 / 07 / 2008 Reply
    That's a good point. having a song in a video game, TV show, during an NFL game?? I think it helps expose the band to audiences that may not have a chance to hear them. I was more upset about the use of music in commercials when it first started, now (especially if it's a smaller band) I say "Good for them" I only dislike it if it ruins a favorite song because the commercial sucks. Parting thought, my youngest hates my favorite band. We driving together yesterday, I drive, I pick the music. A song comes on and she starts bobbing and obviously enjoys the music. She says "this is on Viva La Bam". A small crack in her wall.
  5. Devilish Southern Belle Wednesday - 02 / 07 / 2008 Reply
    I'm really kind of against/i> the commercialization of music in certain instances. I know the artists love to make money off their hard work, but I prefer most music loud, in-your-face, and rebellious. Being greedy and/or caving to commercialism isn't very rock and roll, if you ask me. I agree with what KaBinks said, too, though. Having songs in movies and video games (something I enjoy, and don't consider in the same sphere at all as blatantly promoting products for corporate giants - go figure) is a great way for bands and musicians to broaden their exposure.
  6. Devilish Southern Belle Thursday - 03 / 07 / 2008 Reply
    Ah, good grief. Why did I try to use html in my comment?
  7. Undomestic Diva Thursday - 03 / 07 / 2008 Reply
    OMG, how weird. The toyota commercial? My friend & her family are in it on the big wheels... They hired "stunt" families for the commercial... and her husband is a stuntman. How cool.
  8. rockrollmama Thursday - 03 / 07 / 2008 Reply
    WHOA! It is indeed a small tiny world. Undomestic Diva, give them a high five for me, I was actually very impressed with their mad riding skills. I hear you guys on using music for commercial purposes not being very rock and roll...I guess for me it comes down to whether the music was created for the commercial purpose (although in the end, isn't it all, to some extent?) or whether down the line, some enterprising marketer said "Hey! Led Zeppelin and Cadillac! Rock on!!!" I think it also depends on how the commercial purpose aligns with the band's purpose. Ting-Tings- Apple: Perfect. Bad Brains: Right Guard (Not real, just an example): Not perfect. Really, what's the difference between a band taking money for a record deal and being packaged/promoted to sell records? Just curious. This is also probably a good place for me to point out that my views/thoughts on this matter are ONLY MINE, and do not represent any musicians I know or live with or their band mates. Just me playin devil's advocate.

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