Doing A Moby

Climatechanger brought this article to my attention - regarding the use of music in advertisements.

The piece is an interview with Bethany Klein from University of Leeds, who has written the soon-to-be-published As Heard on TV: Popular Music in Advertising.

I have often thought it odd that people criticise artists for allowing their music to appear in ads, accusing them of "selling out". To me it is no different than having your music played on commercial radio - which exists solely for the purpose of selling airtime to advertisers. Although your music may not be directly linked to one product, the intention still remains - you provide the interstitial soundtrack to blocks of ad space. Obviously there are products that I would never have my music associated with - but there are also radio stations where I would rather my music was not performed.

One section of this interview stood out to me. It follows a discussion on Moby's whore complex over the licensing of every track from Play:

MM - In your paper, you also quote a journalist who identified the “pragmatic reason that electronic music is making an instantaneous leap to commercials and soundtracks: No one else will play it.”

Klein: Yeah, that’s true. Historically, if you look at the terms of constructed authenticity in popular music, you’ll find that Moby gets out of certain aspects of it because it is electronic music; it’s not rock ’n’ roll.

Now this is odd. Are they really insinuating that no one is "playing" electronic music? Surely if this were the case the medium would not exist - without an audience, there would be no desire to create. And the "constructed authenticity" - are we still having that argument, at a time when electronic music is so prevalent?

Rather it is the versatility of electronic music that makes it so desirable. There is such an abundance of it - in various shapes and forms, that the genre itself is to vast to be generalised in such a way. And consider who is placing the music in ads - young, impressionable tastemakers working in ad agencies, who seek out new music and strive to be the first to use it in the commercial context. 

Of course this isn't a universal rule - there will always be a place for rock'n'roll in advertising - just in time for the next DFS sofa sale.

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