I think we’ve probably all seen the Discover Ireland ads with the catchy Tegan and Sara-esque song with the lyrics “I need to go/I need to get away from everything.” This song is of course ‘Remember When’ by Heathers. It seems that adverts are the perfect launch pad for indie artists, let’s not forget Feist’s adoration after her track ‘1234’ was used on the iPod ad.
This method causes the song to beam into both peoples homes and hopefully their consciousness. When Gossip’s ‘Standing In The Way Of Control’ was used as the main song for the first series of teen drama Skins it shot up into the charts.
And of course The Fray and Cold War Kids owe a lot of their popularity and success to Scrubs for frequently using their songs. The Fray’s ‘How To Save A Life’ and Cold War Kids’ ‘Hospital Beds’ were used to regularly in both the show and the accompanying promo ads for the programme.
Florence and the Machine’s ‘Cosmic Love’ has recently been renamed as ‘that song from the O2 ad’. A song which people who are only familiar with it from the ads only know a portion of, and we all know how dreary it is to listen to the whole song when you know five words absolutely perfectly and the rest may as well be yodelling.
This does cause me to wonder if this gives some bands a restricted shelf life, if they’re destined to be ‘that band from that [insert company name here] ad’ and that all of their future work could pale in comparison.
After the major success of Gossip’s ‘Standing In The Way of Control’ their following singles and album can be described as mediocre as best. But who knows, maybe had I not heard ‘Standing In The Way Of Control’ so many times that my ears began to bleed I might appreciate their music more. Or, alternatively, they didn’t let their song be used on Skins and I would never have even been aware of their existence.
The use of relatively unknown artists’ songs being used in the media is no new phenomenon. Now many companies are trying to appeal to a younger, more bohemian demographic. And being inhabitants of the information age means all of this is more accessible, and more predominant than ever.
Is it really much of a dilemma though? Yes, using a song of yours on an advert (assuming it gets chosen) could mean that you’re only remembered for one song and the rest of your music could be ignored, or you could forever play music and write songs while getting almost no recognition and make no living from it. Who came blame a band for having ambition, and getting an enviable amount of money in the process?
As long as Bonnie Tyler stops appearing on screen advertising credit cards while looking like a ghost from the netherworld then I generally find advert music to be pretty good. Certainly the less songs by Johnny Logan afflicting my ears and more by relatively unknown bands the better.
2003 - Witnness 2003, a comprehensive review by Brian Kelly of the 2 days of what transpired to be the last ever Witnness festival (in 2004 it was rebranded as Oxegen when Heineken stepped into the sponsor shoes).