Last night while watching Lost, I was struck by the inordinate number (two in one hour!) of car commercials that featured indie rock heavy-weights. First it was a Pontiac commercial featuring Peter Bjorn And John's anthemic track, "Object Of My Affection" (see music video below). A bit later it was Honda with The Go! Team's "Huddle Formation." I'm not trying to suggest, of course, that this advertising scheme is by any means new (remember Modest Mouse's "Gravity Rides Everything" in a Nissan Commercial?). Nor am I shocked. It just struck me last night how frequent it's become.
With the music industry suffering as much as it has, it's no secret that musicians have been forced to seek alternative means of income. Touring has always been an obvious way, but let's face it -- unless you're Justin Timberlake and selling out coliseums, you're not going to make that much money from it. With that in mind, I don't consider selling your song rights to a car company to be "selling out" (a term which I believe is completely antiquated at this point anyway).
What struck me is just how smart these giant companies really are sometimes. Indie rock is filled with positive and uplifting anthems that are perfect for the spirit of, say, buying a car and taking a road trip. I myself am planning a cross-country trip for later this summer and aside from a few small details (i.e. getting a license), the only thing I've really planned out so far is all the music I want to listen to. It seems to me that as the years go by the line between leisurely activities and commerce is becoming more and more blurry. Who knows? It may come to the point where I can't listen to my favorite band without immediately conjuring up images of things I want to buy. It's a crazy world we live in!
Here's a list of bands who've sold their souls to American commerce, courtesy of Paste Magazine's blog.
1. Modest Mouse “Gravity Rides Everything” (Nissan)
2. Iron and Wine “Such Great Heights” (M&Ms)
3.The Shins “New Slang” (McDonald’s)
4. The Concretes “Say Something New” (Target)
5. Son Volt “Chanty” (Volkswagen)
6. Devendra Banhart “At The Hop” (Fat Tire Beer)
7. M83 “Don’t Save Us From The Flames” (Pontiac)
8. Of Montreal “Wraith Pinned To The Mist And Other Games” (Outback Steak House)
9. Psychedelic Furs “Pretty In Pink” (Cingular)
10. Ben Lee “Catch My Disease” (Dell)
11. Gomez “Shot Shot” (Mitsubishi)
12. Old 97s “Question” (Madden Football)
13. Magnetic Fields “Desert Island” (Southern Comfort)
14. Gift Of Gab “Way Of The Light” (Diet Coke)
15. Mellowdrone “Oh My” (Nissan)