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Music In Advertising: All About The Money?

Trends and Insight 152 Add to collection

Leland Music shares a few great examples of 'sync' where the benefit went beyond transactional

Music In Advertising: All About The Money?

Last month we were encouraged to see Tony Naylor’s excellent piece through Resident Advisor entitled “u” - a discussion of music use in advertising, TV and film. It was refreshing to see the music press take such a broad and well informed view on a part of the industry that can sometimes otherwise seem unapproachable to music fans and musicians.

For those who are not familiar, Resident Advisor has for years been the go-to electronic music magazine, welcomed as an authority for electronica and the full spectrum of associated genres and cultures. Having started industry life in dance music I can attest as to its impact on the scene. 

RA’s readers are a fitting audience for an article like “Studio To Screen”. Progressive taste and non-traditional form is part of what can often define (and separate) electronic music fans. 

Innovative, multi-sensory, non-traditional forms have long been associated with club-culture, so the notion that the advantages of ad placement are solely monetary seems oddly old-fashioned in today’s landscape. We’d counter that there are a host of other advantages for artists that can supplement a low budget, or add value to a good one. We've been thinking about a few examples of great ‘sync’ where the benefit went beyond transactional:

Sony Bravia “Balls” (Jose Gonzales “Heartbeats”) - 2005 

Still one of the best remembered uses of music in advertising. The artist was propelled into the spotlight with his cover of The Knife's "Heartbeats" (RA wrote at the time that his music had caused only “occasional ripples” prior to the use). This dynamic is of even more significance today particularly with the emergence of new technologies like Shazam which can boost an artist’s popularity through placement in advertising or TV.

Converse “My Drive Thru” (Santigold, Julian Casablancas, N.E.R.D “My Drive Thru”) - 2008 

There’s a lot to be said for the right brand matching with the right artist. Converse brought together these pop heavyweights to create a new track and video. A great look for all concerned and a great brand to be aligned with. 

Southern Comfort “Whatever’s Comfortable” (Odetta “Hit Or Miss”) - 2014 

The art of matching music to picture isn't lost on the ad industry. See Southern Comfort’s 2012 spot and the perfect placement of Odetta’s “Hit Or Miss”. Regardless of its commercial function, this is a great piece of filmmaking and a great tonal match.

Of course, monetary gain remains a key factor for artists who are encouraged to work with advertisers, but it is worth considering other key benefits, such as those mentioned above. After all - connecting with the right brand can represent another form of creativity in itself.

Toby Williams is a Music Supervisor and Project Manager at Leland Music. Find out more about their work at
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Genres: Storytelling, Music & Sound Design

Leland Music, Mon, 18 Apr 2016 10:53:33 GMT