Friday, November 28, 2008

What Would Don Draper Do?

The blurry (at best) line between pop music and Madison Avenue. (Miller-McCune)

The watershed event that a lot of people will talk about is the use of The Beatles’ “Revolution” by Nike (in 1987). Which brought up a lot of the more moral aspects, since people became aware that The Beatles didn’t have the right to license it and therefore couldn’t deny the licensing either. This really brought the practice into the public eye. Then there were a number of years where you really didn’t hear much, partly because the music being featured (in commercials) was not very controversial and not often new — sort of R&B and Motown. For me, another tipping point was (in 2000) when (Nick Drake’s) “Pink Moon” was used by Volkswagen. Only this time it was really about the practice of redeeming someone’s career who had been sort of a cult artist, but essentially ignored for many years, and doing so in a really beautiful fashion — it was a beautiful commercial to watch. So that was maybe the most obvious predecessor to Moby because that album sold so much more after that commercial than it had sold previously. People started to see it as another venue through which you could make money, sell records, get exposure.

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