Music News

Music in TV/Advertising? What does the future hold?

Photograph of the blog post author, Mary Woodcock

Mary Woodcock


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So, it’s been an interesting week for music in T.V and advertising, as the big news of the last week has been the airing of Breaking Bads last episode. In case you’d been living in a hole the last few years, or just aren’t that into T.V. Breaking Bad has been a HUGE ratings success, it’s about a couple of Crystal Meth chemists essentially, I won’t go into the plot, but it is DAMN good. (Not as good as Lost, but still, damn good)

Anyhow, since last week’s premiere of the last ever episode of Breaking Bad, the tune that was chosen as the song for the final scene was this, Badfinger, a little known American rock band had a sales spike of 9000% in the 2 days post airing, 9000%! Not a bad little earner if you can get it aye? I bet Badfingers members thought all their Christmases came at once!

This is just another case of the power of TV/Advertising over the music industry; it’s also a two way street though, with the programme/advertisement gaining credibility if a good song is chosen, so everyone can be a winner!

There has been several instances recently to show the fact that some artists are actually creating music just to be used in advertising campaigns, as the music industry slowly slips into decline because of the huge rise in P2P (piracy) sharing, artists are increasingly looking at advertisements and T.V. show’s as a source of revenue to tap into.

One such case was Faithless’ last album (Before they broke up, though they have recently announced they are getting back together for a series of shows later this year/next year, but no new material will be released.. Sure…) the lead single from the album ‘Feelin’ Good’ was actually made with the car maker Fiat in mind, and in particular the Fiat Punto, they signed a deal that meant that basically Fiat paid for the music video for the song, and then the song would be used in all their advertising material for the car, and a special edition of the car called the ‘feelin’ good’ would be sold.

At the time, this was seen as a forward thinking and innovative deal that would be copied in years to come, to date, from the research I’ve done, no such deals have been signed since, but, these types of deals are definitely going to become more of the norm in the future you feel, with the rise of piracy (as mentioned above) and advertising is obviously big business, and big businesses usually have a habit of getting what they want!

When looking at T.V show’s etc. earlier in the year, the makers of show’s such as CSI and Glee gave a talk at a conference for independent musicians and music companies in the UK, which explained that they were shocked that TV companies still had to pay labels for music, and that the exposure opportunities for artists to gain exposure on T.V shows was ‘immense.’

Getting a “sync”, as in getting their music used in on TV, advertisement, film and video games, has remained a welcome revenue stream for artists and songwriters – especially as artist deals tend to stipulate that half the payment for the use would go to the artist, compared to the average 16% they would get from record sales.

However, as the TV show maker pointed out, the days of scoring big lump sum payments from sync placements are over.  And now, in a complete reversal of fortune, they think artists should pay for the privilege of having these corporations use their music – as it’s promotion… But maybe this is a valid point, as my Badfinger point above shows; they had a 9000% sales spike.

Artists are also being made to pay for live appearances as well, for example, LOCOG (London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games) made it a standard rule that they didn’t pay any of the acts that performed on the opening and closing shows, or any of the events that they put on around the Olympic games because it was amazing exposure.

So if you were a band that had been invited to play at the one of the smaller events, you would have to arrange for all of your equipment to get they’re yourself etc. and you’d basically be out of pocket! How absolutely ridiculous this is, but this is the way of modern music now I guess.

Just imagine all the music that you could be creating now by using Music Gateway, and then in a few weeks/months you could be putting that to use on a T.V. show or advertising campaign!

What do you think about the recent trend towards music being created just for marketing campaigns? Do you think T.V shows should pay for music, or musicians should pay for their music to be put on to T.V. show’s just for exposure? What is your favourite use of music in an advertising campaign or T.V. show?

We love to hear from you so comment below and share and tweet!


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