Posted in music on May 13, 2009

by Ryan Barkan

Miller Chili or mojitos anyone?
DodosMatt and Kim

AC DCPhone wars 2009 - Verizon vs. AT&T. It is always a battle when these two giants square off with their :60 second spots in tow to prove which company provides the best cellular service and coverage. In recent years, Verizon has enlisted the likes of AC/DC and The Killers. Included in the deal with the Aussie rockers was the right to exclusively offer the band's music digitally. On the other side, AT&T has hammered home their phone offerings and 5-bar messages with a spot including a track from Lupe Fiasco featuring Jill Scott, "Daydreamin", one with Mates Of State, and an Amos Lee commercial, among others. Both have recently gone to the licensing well again to soundtrack new technology and coverage, but with different strategies.

Verizon's new "Hub" decided to go the synergy route, using one of the most popular mainstream tunes of the last year, Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours", in multiple spots showcasing the company's new phone technology.

AT&T meanwhile went with different tunes for each of the new 5-bar spots, matching songs with each commercial's creative direction. In "Backpackers", the sentimental "Falling in Love in a Coffeeshop" by Landon Pigg tells the story of two lovers who met on a brief European backpacking trip. However, because of the quality of the service and technology, they not only can stay in touch with great coverage but end up together again with a touching beachfront reunion. Another boxing themed spot brings to mind Rocky with "Gonna Fly Now." Eighties rockers Journey power this commercial for the symphony. Lastly, an inspirational spot based on Venice, CA, store Tom's Shoes. The store has one premise -- each pair of shoes bought equals one free pair for a child in need. The commercial uses an instrumental version of James Blunt's "Same Mistake." Watch that spot here.

Other Notable Commercial Licensing News:

An instant classic commercial from Heineken -- the beer company celebrates responsible drinking (title is called "Let A Stranger Drive You Home") with the help from Biz Markie's "Just A Friend". Watch the spot below.

Beer maker Miller went with San Fran's The Dodos as the music for their new Miller Chill commercial. Watch it below.

"Daylight," a track by Matt & Kim, provides the vibe in a new commercial for Bacardi Mojitos. See it below.

continued below...

Dell continues their quirky spots + cool music strategy with a new ad for their laptops featuring the Stereo Total song "I Love You, Ono." Watch it here.

passion pitNike has been busy lately linking their online strategy with hip music...starting with a new Nike Women's online spot featuring a track off the new Passion Pit album.

Black Lips reinterpret a classic country song, "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys," for a motocross spot (see it here). Black Lips' Jared Swilley is one of four curators of music playlists on Nike owned brand Converse's new website. Swilley curates a list for Vice; other labels that have playlists include Ninja Tune, Nacional, and Stones Throw. Nike Skateboarding has a new video, "Debacle"; the trailer has a pretty awesome song by The Replacements. Nike Basketball celebrates the newest MVP, Lebron James, with a puppet commercial and some music by Pink Martini (see it here). Lastly, we already know that Nike and De La Soul like working together...dropping these two dunks in 2005. Now this:

From Nike, the world's leading sports brand, comes an exclusive release by De La Soul, one of the most influential hip hop bands of the last two decades. Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of 3 Feet High and Rising, De La Soul and Nike release ARE YOU IN?: Nike+ Original Run, which is the groups's first-released original material in five-years. The record is only available through iTunes, and is part of a continuing series of releases through the "Nike+ Sport Music" section of the store. (via Hypebeast)
Hip Hop Official has a De La Soul speaking candidly on the relationship with Nike.

We already know that T-Mobile in the UK likes to create mass experiences, integrating crowds and music. They did it again, this time inviting just over thirteen thousand people to join in on a sing-a-long of The Beatles' jam "Hey Jude." Watch the karaoke fun in Trafalgar Square go down here. The brand enlisted Pink to lead the crowd...they also karaoke'd "Piece Of My Heart" and Britney's "Hit Me Baby One More Time".

In 2003, Pernice Brothers put out an album called "Yours, Mine, and Ours." In 2009, a song from said album soundtracks a new commercial for Sherwin-Williams. View the spot below.

Ray Ban + Eagles Of Death Metal song "Miss Alissa" + viral strategy = this online spot.

Last fall, Lincoln debuted a commercial featuring a Cat Power cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity." Apparently, the brand loved that tactic so much they created a sequel spot featuring another cover version of a classic song. Shiny Toy Guns were enlisted to create a version of "Major Tom (Coming Home)", Peter Schilling's sequel to "Space Oddity" -- the song was not only used in the spot but was also made available for free download on Lincoln's website. Watch the spot below and head here to download the mp3 (in the MKZ ad).

Car maker Kia created an interesting commercial to launch the brand's new Soul line...and by interesting, I mean weird. The spot sees a bunch of hamsters stuck in their stationary wheels, la-dee-da-ding in their normalcy rut. That is until the "cool" hamsters pull up in their shiny new red Soul, popping their window down and blasting a song by Marz F. Pack & Mumiez, "Do What You Do." If you want to be different, you better run out and get a least that is their message. See the hamster fun below.

Continuing with the car/song match ups, Nissan preferred to match up New Young Pony Club and their song "Ice Cream" with the brand's Cube model. Commercial can be seen below.

Honda didn't want to miss out on the musical fun for a new car line, having UK band Mostar Diving Club's "Honey Tree" as the soundtrack for the Insight car commercial. See that spot below. They didn't stop there, adding two more spots to the series -- one with Rabbit and one with Great Lake Swimmers. Explore the brand and songs some more at the Insight website

Booty is booty, so say Burger King, Spongebob Squarepants, and Sir Mix-A-Lot in this crass cross promotion commercial.

Scottish producer/songwriter Calvin Harris scores a new commercial for Coke out of the UK. The very creative commercial is definitely worth a view below.

Have you seen that new Schick Quattro For Women commercial...the one that is pretty damn direct about its bush trimming skills? Turns out the song...or partial almost song...features Angela McCluskey. Watch it below.

Two "P's" -- Payless and The Ponys -- come together for a new commercial using the band's song "Lets Kill Ourselves".

Boy, this is something -- Lipton Tea and a crazy commercial featuring the song "World Of Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory.

Dutch women have more than one reason to be excited about this commercial for Jillz, a sparkling cider by makers of Heineken. The spot features a rerecorded version of Kool & The Gang's "Fresh." Watch it below.

More international funnies -- a singing Chicken Sandwich in South Africa for Chicken Licken. Elvis's "Love Me Tender" is the song abused. Watch it here.

In video games, Guitar Hero made available for DLC both a three-song Motorhead and three-song Nirvana pack. In related GH news, they announced their next full band game will be a Van Halen game. Rock Band has made available the entire Jane's Addiction Nothing's Shocking album as well as three tracks from Franz Ferdinand, two from The Allman Brothers, and one from Luscious Jackson. Microsoft LIPS has tracks for DLC from The Black Crowes, New Radicals, Coldplay and The Cranberries.

Mike Tyson makes a cameo in the new movie The Hangover (from the same good people that brought you Old School). His scene sees him knockin' out and rockin' out to "In The Air Tonight"; you can see it in the movie's official trailer (near the end) here.

It's no big deal now for Cold Case to feature one artist's music in an entire episode of the series...they have already had seven bands get this honor. Most recently, the hits of John Lennon got the CC soundtrack treatment. Well, Pearl Jam one-ups them all by becoming the first act to have two whole episodes feature their music catalog -- sixteen songs used in total. It has been a big year for PJ as they continue to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their first album Ten. This initiative with CBS marks the first time the band has ever licensed their music for TV. More on this via The LA Times.

As heard on TV over the past couple weeks: 90210 has used Right Said Fred, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Ida Maria, the Kills, and Cut Copy. Of note on Bones was a use of Antony & The Johnstons; Brothers & Sisters had The Fray, Britney Spears, The Killers, and Brett Dennen. The Virgins and Fatboy Slim were used in Castle; Chuck had a couple Bon Iver songs and ones from The Thermals, Gramercy Arms, The Cure, Franz Ferdinand, and Blind Pilot. CSI had a Sliversun Pickups song, one by The White Stripes, and one by Black Sabbath. CSI Miami used Justice, New Order, and Lily Allen. Dollhouse used Beck, Roy Orbinson, and White Plains. Gossip Girl featured tracks from The Kills and The Ting Tings. Grey's Anatomy used Au Revoire Simone, Ingrid Michaelson, The Rescues, and Mostar Diving Club. House had Hansen, M. Ward, Public Enemy, and "Weird Al" Yanknovic. NUMB3RS used The Shins, Jose Gonzalez, and Eels. One Tree Hill went with Pete Yorn, Kate Voegle, The Cure, and Loverboy. Private Practice used both Elliott Smith and They Might Be Giants. The Clash's "Guns Of Brixton" was used in Rescue Me. Scrubs had The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Peter Gabriel. (Relatively) New NBC show Southland likes both Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse. The Simpsons rewrote the lyrics of Weezer's "Beverly Hills" and used it twice. Lastly, Ugly Betty used Earlimart and Fatboy Slim.

Heineken Commercial with Biz Markie

Miller Chili w/ The Dodos

Bacardi Commercial with Matt & Kim

Lens Crafters Commercial with Donovan

Sherwin Williams Commercial with Pernice Brothers

Kia Commercial with Marz F. Pack & Mumiez

Lincoln MKZ Commercial with Shiny Toy Guns Cover

Honda Insight Commercial with Mostar Diving Club

Nissan Commercial with New Young Pony Club

Coke Commercial with Calvin Harris

Schick Quattro For Women with Angela McCluskey

Payless Commercial with The Ponys



Comments (55)

i never liked matt and kim until i heard "daylight" when i caught that bacardi commercial on tv.

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 11:28 AM

Licensing your song for product placement is like whoring out your child in order to live more comfortably. The gesture devalues not only your music but any argument for music as art.

Posted by this note's for you | May 13, 2009 11:44 AM


Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 11:51 AM

Matt and Kim for Bacardi huh?

for a band who's fans average age is 17, that's interestin'.

real interestin'.

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 11:53 AM

Indie bands don't make any money, they need to license their songs to sustain themselves in many cases.

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 11:55 AM

with record sales plummeting and everyone downloading music (for free) I understand completely why a band would do that. They get some money in their pocket and its another avenue for new people to hear their music and potentially become fans.

Blogs Are Art. Comments on Blogs Are Art. Wednesdays Just Before Noon Art Art.

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 11:56 AM

What about the Broken West in Sherman Williams?

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 11:59 AM

All I ask of the bands I like is that they put out good albums and put on good shows. If they can make a few bucks "in order to live more comfortably" more power to them. In the grown up world money is important. If 90 percent of the people who complain about these bands "selling out" saw a check for how much these bands were getting they'd shit their bands during the five seconds it took them to trample on an old lady and a baby in order to grab it.

Plus, if you own that newfangled invention called a DVR you don't have to watch these ads anyway.

Posted by Real World Spokesman | May 13, 2009 12:00 PM

I don't think any band needs to license their songs. That's giving Kevin Barnes & Co. a little too much credit. You can always take a job; keep your income and your music separate if you need to. Admittedly, your job is not going to be a good one. Not an easy call. Depends how much you care about your music (and the people who love it, to a certain extent).

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 12:03 PM

this note's for you,
Glad to hear you made it to fantasy land. Haven't been there in a while, give my regards to the old gang. Things are okay here, fortunately I still have a job! Maybe when you are back we can hang out, as long as you don't mind going to a bar where they don't instantly give you free drinks just for being in a band. There might even be some non-creatives there, hope that is ok. Anyways, super jealous you are all the way in fantasy land. Put pics on FB. Thanks,

Posted by stumpy | May 13, 2009 12:07 PM

indie bands do make money, you are naive.

when they're of the level of success that licensing opportunities start getting offered to them, bands are (99% of the time) already also at the stage where they're making $5000 or more per live appearance. This is absolutely true of everyone mentioned in this column today, and most of them do a lot better than that.

If you can't manage your finances and live comfortably off of tours that are that lucrative, not to mention the record label advances that successful bands do still routinely get, then you have a big problem with your ability to manage money.

I have no sympathy for the decision to sell songs to commercials.

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 12:11 PM

Hell, I like the Heineken commercial and I love Biz Markie.
Sell out or not, its catchy and funny.

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 12:19 PM

Are you still in high school throwing around the term "sellout"? For real, who cares?!!?!?!

Only a true a-hole would not sell a song to make $$$ in effort retain their cred, so bigger a-holes like you will still think they're cool.

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 12:23 PM

Imagine your favorite song ever. Perhaps it's a Neutral Milk Hotel song. Perhaps not.

Now imagine that song in a Mazda ad. It's for the CX-7. That's a mid-size SUV. A smooth ride, for sure. And spacious.

Finally, tell yourself that product placement doesn't bother you.

Posted by this is just a test | May 13, 2009 12:28 PM

hey 12:23, you're kind of full of shit.

I mean no one's even come close to calling anyone a "sell out" on this thread yet, and for sure haven't used those words, so what is it thats got your panties in a bunch?

why are the people who defend licensing so defensive? preemptively defensive. weird.

could it be that they've got an agenda and maybe aren't regular dude commenters at all? sure looks like it.

sounds to me like we've got some marketing folks on here trying to manipulate the conversation, and public opinion.

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 12:32 PM

Hey look, it's a bunch of hipster doucheys calling people sellouts via anonymous comments. Go cash the check your parents sent you for rent. These placements are one of the best ways to get your music out there (see the first comment on the page). It doesn't change the quality of the album and it doesn't affect your life. Get. Over. It.

Posted by Brian | May 13, 2009 12:32 PM

this is an INDUSTRY, not a talent show!

Two examples of bands I used to like (a long time ago) who "sold-out"...Green Day and the Black-Eyed Peas. Both groups had solid first and second albums, changed their style for the worse, got huge, and made LOTS of $$$! Do you think they regret not playing sweaty basements and drinking cheap beer?

While I think both of the aforementioned groups made total commercial trash, they don't sleep on their friend's floors anymore.

ps - = biggest d-bag alive?

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 12:33 PM

12:32, you're jumping the gun, and you look like an ass because of it.

nobody's called anyone a sell out here. why would anyone feign outrage iver somehting that hasn't even happenned yet?

...unless you're putting on airs to manipulate people, and impersonating a "regular guy" when in fact you're trying to sway public opinion towards what benefits your career.

fucking troll!

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 12:37 PM

Brian- we are truly better than anonymous posters. we call people out on their hypocrisy and give our first names so that people know exactly who we are.

Posted by Joe | May 13, 2009 12:46 PM

You're right, I guess comparing selling a song for a commercial to "whoring out your child" (comment #2) doesn't count as calling someone a sellout...

btw, I'm a design student at Pratt who likes music, but thanks for the conspiracy theory. If you think the comments on a blog like BV could actually constitute "manipulating people" you must be extremely easy to manipulate (or just extremely stupid).

Posted by Brian | May 13, 2009 12:47 PM

12:33, uh, green day changed their style? are you kidding?

Posted by yoga | May 13, 2009 12:55 PM

nobody knows how bands and the music industry work like design students at $40000 a year art schools.

I'm sure you know all about the underground, how bands get payed, how commercial pressures affect them, etc.

You're so experienced and have really seen the world.... from a dormroom in Brooklyn where you're probably afraid to venture outside, and where your parents pay more each year to send you there than average people make in a year.

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 1:00 PM

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess commenter #2 is not a parent.

Posted by Chris | May 13, 2009 1:06 PM

"12:33, uh, green day changed their style? are you kidding? "

I was haning out on Gilman St in SF when you were rocking out to Warrant...I was there!

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 1:14 PM

I don't have a "problem" or whatever with a band licensing, but nobody DESERVES to get paid a livable wage by their art so everyone can stop acting like selling their songs to the Royal African Slave Trading Co. is alright because it's unfathomable that they have to get a real job like the rest of us.

Posted by zik | May 13, 2009 1:22 PM

the bigger issue is that the kinds of bands that are offered licensing deals are (almost always) ALREADY making a good money.

This is not some life saver for starving artists, because nobody using starving artists' music in their commercials.

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 1:30 PM

90% of people on this thread have music collections made possible by illegal file sharing.

You think the Dodos make $5K a gig outside of 5 cities? Are you kidding? Some people are living in fantasyland. Also, bands shouldn't have to tour to make a living.

I'm fine with artists making and thinking about music all day. They don't have to work some shitty day job to earn my respect.

Posted by Anonymal | May 13, 2009 1:31 PM

that Bacardi commercial is insufferable

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 1:32 PM

bands should have to tour to make a living.

they're fucking musicians, you should have to do what it is you do.

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 1:34 PM

glad to see this post has been less than weekly lately.
Seriously, 12:28 is right.
It's like this guy is repackaging the ads as throwing them back in our face as "indie news".
I try to ignore this shit as much as I can and then the ads become the content!?

Posted by Pearl | May 13, 2009 1:34 PM

I'm sure anyone who watches a lot of will agree with me here...


Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 2:00 PM

I am amused to see how many commentators on here have absolutely zero knowledge of how the music industry actually works...and yet who are belligerently adamant that their opinion is right.

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 2:07 PM

"bands should have to tour to make a living.
they're fucking musicians, you should have to do what it is you do."

I thought musicians also wrote songs and that commercials used songs and therefore another job a musician has is writing songs for commercials. That could just be me.

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 2:08 PM

1:31 Is right there is no way in hell the Dodos make 5,000 for almost any gig they play. Bands get paid a lot less for gig than you think unless they are major indie acts.

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 2:20 PM

dodos make minimum $5000 a night if they're playing soldout nights at Webster Hall or similar sized venues.

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 2:33 PM

""dodos make minimum $5000 a night "

lol. I'm sure they wish that was true

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 2:48 PM

bands that can sell out Bowery or MHOW will make between $3500 and $10000 for their troubles, depending upon ticket price and openers.

Bowery Presents pays between 40% and 60% of the door to the "talent." The math is not complicated to do.

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 2:49 PM

people who complain about bands "selling out" are just jealous that their bands suck so bad that they can't themselves "sell out".

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 3:00 PM

"bands that can sell out Bowery or MHOW"

Unless they are The Dead Weather, the same bands are usualy playing venues half that size for lower ticket prices most other places in the country

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 3:05 PM

2:49 - but it's insane to assume that they're making that much every night in every town, not to mention that you're talking about gross earnings - take out daily tour expenses, managment and booking agency percentages, divide what's left up among the band members, THEN take out your taxes, and you're not talking about $3500 to $10,000 anymore.

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 3:06 PM

I don't think any such assumption was stated or implied.

but... they're not exactly broke. that's the point.

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 3:11 PM

awesome, the weekly sell out report is back in effect!

Posted by Anonymous | May 13, 2009 4:49 PM

any of these bands could make at least 100K in a year if they tour and play festivals. 120 shows a year, at $1000 per show is $120,000. I don't know anyone who expects to make a profit from album sales. People stealing music has put an end to that.
In the long run, a band selling a song to a commercial is a smart move because they get paid and people won't remember the commericial in 3 months, or the band in 3 years. The band might lose some original fans by selling out, but at this point they have many more new fans who don't care about those things.
Although, if the band is actually good and cares about what they're doing then i hope they would think twice about it and make sure the product in the commercial is somewhat relevant to them.

Posted by Anonymous | May 14, 2009 10:41 AM

guzel olmuss :D

Posted by Sesli Chat | June 4, 2009 8:14 AM

When I was young I so felt like some of the posters here. I remember thinking bands that sold there music for product placement sucked and should be shunned. As I have gotten older I have come to realize that what I think matters not, bands will continue to do what (they think) is in their best interest and I can either like the tunes they put out or shut up. I like many of the tunes I hear floating across my TV - some of which I would have never heard - and generally have little time for the calls of sellout, etc. Oh, age. How you suck.

Posted by Old DJ | June 29, 2009 6:31 PM

I am a musician; and I have, by sheer luck, been given an opportunity to license some of my music to a major company. The music that I make is the kind that requires every second of my time and every ounce of my energy. My music does not lend itself to public performance in any viable way. The few labels that would be a good fit for me can afford to pay very little. Should I get a day-job and take eight hours out of my day that I really require to make reasonable progress on my music? I forgot to mention that I am penniless, without healthcare or dental coverage, overwhelmed by stress, and completely out of things to pawn. I don't feel sorry for myself. My point is that some music can't be made with a day-job; and the only thing that could compromise my "artistic integrity" at this point would be to refuse opportunities for compensation. A musician's impoverished lifestyle is a far greater obstacle to a listener's ability to enjoy their music than is the soft association of that music with its commercial use. I am a listener too. The recent use of a Sigur Ros song in an ad for the game Prince Of Persia did not change the enchantment I experienced when I heard them play it on Current TV (live at MOMA?). This deal isn't going to make me rich, but it will let me regain (for now) that relaxed and playful creative mindset that has been harder and harder to get into since the bills have been piling up. Ultimately, none of this matters. I spend all day and night making a product that has become free in a market that has been flooded. I'm taking the money.

Posted by i heart music | July 24, 2009 1:50 AM

Exactly. "selling out" bahaha. They're getting paid to have their song played on tv and getting more exposure. If they did it for free, would it be alright then? The more people that dig your music, the merrier, then the more people get to hear the message they're making in it.

Posted by Anonymous | August 6, 2009 9:01 AM

the heineken commercial is pretty good. here is the sample by the way..

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Should I get a day-job and take eight hours out of my day that I really require to make reasonable progress on my music? I forgot to mention that I am penniless, without healthcare or dental coverage, overwhelmed by stress

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I like many of the tunes I hear floating across my TV - some of which I would have never heard - and generally have little time for the calls of sellout, etc. Oh, age. How you suck.

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