Heard any good jingles lately? I thought not.
A piece in AdAge points out that
For New York music houses — recording studios with paid staff and a stable of exclusive writers and producers — the estimated $150 million business was off by 25% last year, according to the Association of Music Producers. That’s following a soft 2000 and 2001.
What’s taking their place? Pop songs. You hear them all over, usually in ludicrous places. The Stones’ “Start Me Up” for Ford and Microsoft. The Clash’s “London Calling” for Jaguar — an link so inappropriate as to be almost obscene. And nearly an entire album of Beck’s has been culled for advertising use.
The trouble is twofold. The first, and lesser, issue is that brands suffer from this. A successful jingle is for the ages. Think “two all beef patties.” Think “the heartbeat of America.”
More troubling is what this means for pop music. It’s not exactly news that what used to be revolutionary and counterculture is now mainstream. But something important is lost when the soundtrack of our lives — the personal connection we have with certain songs — can be co-opted in an attempt to plug that emotion into building loyalty to a product. The Beatles had it right by not licensing anything; Michael Jackson screwed it up by letting Nike use “Revolution.”
Much of this is a lost cause, I know. But so help me, I’ll bust the first TV that I hear using “What’s Going On” to sell me something.