September 23, 2023

Indie Music and Advertising Now a Standard Pairing

It’s especially important to follow this story if you’re in an indie band yourself.  And to think that Moby was crucified for licensing all those tracks from his Play album.  But I can feel a new backlash coming. How much longer will be it be acceptable for artists to earn this way?  If the poles of opinion flipped once before, they can flip again.

From Hypebot:

Recent articles in Adweek, Businessweek, Fortune and the LA Times discuss the widespread use of music by indie artists in advertising. While this is not a new phenomenon, it is now a well-established practice that offers artists an excellent revenue stream. In some cases artists also get their first big hits via music that is featured in ubiquitous commercials. As one musician points out, music supervisors and creatives in marketing are the new A&R.

An article by Gabriel Beltrone, that first appeared in Adweek and was then reprinted by, has gotten a lot of attention on music and marketing blogs and news sites. It includes the tale of fun., whose single We Are Young featuring Janelle Monae appeared in a Super Bowl Chevy commercial and is now in its 4th week at no. 1 on the Hot 100.

Beltrone references one of two starting points for the new status quo, Apple’s commercials from the last decade, especially for the iPod, that featured indie singles such as Feist’s 1234.

Andy Fixmer, writing for Businessweek, references the uber origin tale, the licensing of all 18 tracks from Moby’s 1999 release Play for commercials and other outlets including a British tv show. This approach was, in part, an alternative strategy to marketing via radio which wasn’t that interested in Moby and also based on previous experiences licensing Moby’s music to filmmakers.

Now licensing for commercials is becoming a conscious strategy for building a musical brand, as Shelley DuBois points out in an article for Fortune titled “Are advertisers the new record labels?” Though she doesn’t mention such branded labels as Red Bull Records or Mountain Dew’s Green Label Sound, she does point to Coke’s investment in Music Dealers.

Read more here.  

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37091 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “Indie Music and Advertising Now a Standard Pairing

  • Rollins makes the relevant points succinctly and forcefully:

  • Hip-hop/urban imagery has been co-opted into the mainstream, and the poles of opinion has never flipped since.


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