In June, just before I went back to Canada for a visit, an Ebay ad started airing here in Australia using Feist’s 1234 as the soundtrack. Then when I got to Canada I saw two more ads featuring the music of the talented Canadian songwriter: Lacoste using Mushaboom, Verizon using My Moon My Man. And now 1234 can be heard and seen pimping the iPod Fatty for Apple. Is this too much?
It used to be that when any artist that could be loosely defined as “indie” started popping up in ads for major corporations people would be up in arms. I’ve heard no complaints from Feist fans. Is this indicative of a shift in attitude towards the relationships between artists and advertisers? Do more people accept the Moby Principle that if radio won’t play it a commercial is the next best thing? It still baffles me that Wilco licensed so much of Sky Blue Sky for Volkswagen. Are those ads really going to sell any more Wilco albums?
In 2005 when Jose Gonzalez became a (relatively) household name no one really seemed to care that an, admittedly beautiful, Sony ad was reponsible for his breakthrough. But all these Feist ads are a bit odd. Gonzalez was pretty unknown at the time that Heartbeats was working wonders for Sony so it seemed to be a shrewd PR move on his part. Plus that song was a cover, not one of his own compositions.
Feist on the other hand isn’t a new artist desperate for more press. I remember a large feature in the New York Times around the release of her latest record; The Reminder was going to introduce her to a much larger audience without all these ads, hence my bafflement. I think my main problem with artists I love licensing songs for commercials is that I fear automatically associating a song I love with a corporation or ad campaign. Maybe that’s just me.
But I still love Feist.
Feist for Ebay
Feist for Apple
Feist for Lacoste
Feist for Verizon
Feist for HSBC
And a bit late with this one, but Brian Wilson will be playing a FREE SHOW in Sydney on January 5 in The Domain. AWESOME.