Songs Used In Promotions Get A Ton Of Sales... So Why Does The Music Industry Try To Make It Harder?

from the short-term-thinking dept

Ethorad was the first of a few to write in pointing to an article over at the BBC, highlighting how old songs are finding new life and new sales after showing up in a commercial -- or being used on TV during a popular event. In other words, getting your music more widely heard leads to more ways to make money. That, of course, should be obvious. And yet, why is it that so many in the industry are trying to make it so much harder to get music heard by putting up tollbooths at every stop? You have the RIAA/Soundexchange working overtime to put an additional tax on radio play and you have ASCAP/BMI trying to get fees for everything, from the 30 second previews online to ringtones. Of course, the more you put a toll on such things, the less the songs are used, the less they're promoted and the less opportunity there is to increase sales. It's really amazing sometimes that these big organizations don't seem to comprehend the basic idea of a "promotion" and how that helps sales.


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  1.  
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    thublihnk (profile), Oct 27th, 2009 @ 9:47pm

    I know of one particular commercial a year back that had a song in it that was really catchy and I wanted to find it, but I never figured out what song it was. If info like that was made more available I would've bought the song and looked into the band's other works.

     

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    jendelui (profile), Oct 27th, 2009 @ 11:20pm

    APRA/AMCOS/PPCA doing the same down under

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2009 @ 11:52pm

    Everything is negotiable.

    They understand that if their buyers want to pay a price that is too low, they don't have sell it to them.

    What they don't appear to understand is that if they want to sell at a price that is too high, their potential customer doesn't have to buy from them.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 12:23am

    I think it's worth pointing out that it might have something to do with the company doing the advertising.

    For instance, I wanted to know what remix was used in those Geico commercials, so I tried doing something I thought would surely fail - I went to Geico's site. Right there on the front page is a link called "What's that song?" which leads to another page where you can learn about the artist, watch a music video, or download an .mp3 in one case.

    This also led me to look up the rest of Mysto and Pizzi's stuff and it isn't bad either.

    All in all, pleasantly surprising.

     

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  5.  
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    Ernestas, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 1:28am

    Whats is a problem of "balance"

    BMI, RIAA collects money on everything except direct sales.
    So, the way to maximize profits - is:
    1) to create new taxes
    2) prevent "non taxable" channel to appear
    3) if #2 fails apply #1

    This is problem of business model. If they would SELL that music MAYBE way would try to find balance.

     

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  6.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Oct 28th, 2009 @ 4:44am

    I know the answer!
    They are all idiots who see everything in the light of "how can this make me money right now?"

     

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  7.  
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    Mark, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 6:06am

    Ooh La La

    A couple years ago a car compant used The Faces tune "Ooh La La" in their commercial. It's a very catchy tune I hadn't heard in years. So after searching for it on the net I found a 4 disk boxed set with a bunch of other great tunes I hadn't heard in years. So this car commercial really ended up selling me a $60 boxed set of music I had completely forgot about.

     

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  8.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 28th, 2009 @ 6:25am

    Commercials

    The sole reason I bought an Ingrid Michaelson album was because I couldn't get that damn Sweater Song from the Gap commercial a few years back out of my head. The rest of the album was so so, but I bought it AND went to see her when she performed in Chicago.

    Literally ENTIRELY because of that commercial...

    (Full Discolosure: I am already incredibly ashamed of my deep seeded love for that song, but feel free to bash my head in about it....I deserve it.)

     

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  9.  
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    Cathy, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 6:32am

    Commercials

    This is very true. Just yesterday I popped onto iTunes to pick up a copy of Kansas's Point of No Return after seeing some dude rocking out to it on a passing commercial. Talk about a blast from the past!

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 6:45am

    because they are fawking STUPID!

     

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  11.  
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    Sean T Henry (profile), Oct 28th, 2009 @ 6:56am

    Re:

    The recording industry should be pushing to have the band and song listed at the beginning or end of any commercial.

     

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  12.  
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    Johnny Canada, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 7:41am

    Re: Re:

    Like Honey Nut Cheerios did with the Ben Taylor song .

    At the ens of the commercial they show who wrote the song and the artist.

     

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  13.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Oct 28th, 2009 @ 8:38am

    Backwards

    It only makes sense to the music industry and royalty collection association executives, but the answer is:

    They see the music as selling the advertised product.

    Instead of seeing a partnership as both music and product helping each other, or more sales of the music because it is associated with a product. To those execs, all of the value is in the music and there is no (or little) value in anything else, because they've been trained to think like that. And so, they make a product more valuable and think they deserve to be paid for it. As has been said before, they over-value the music to the detriment of everything else.

     

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  14.  
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    Jerry Walter, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 8:46am

    commercials

    For all you brainiacs out there, BMI doesn't sell music. They collect royalties for songwriters (who are not necessarily recording artists) every time a song is played in public, including commericals. So how is it "stupid" for them to make sure songwriters are paid when their songs are used in commercials? These are not taxes. BMI operates on a non-profit basis, paying about 87% of what they collect to songwrites and publishers. Somebody on this forum obviously is clueless about how such organizations operate.

     

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  15.  
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    Michael, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 8:52am

    Slippery argument

    Radio tried to not pay rights, arguing it was "promotion". Go down that path, and ads that use music could say the same thing (and guess what, they do occasionally). MTV would refuse to pay rights to put music in their shows (yes, they do that as well). Movie producers would look over their desk and say, "Think of the promotion man" (yes, I hear that one regularly too). So at the end of the day what would happen? Musicians giving everything away again. But then, what's new? Every time someone comes up with a new business/gizmo, there's always a smart spark somewhere that will say "And musicians can promote their music for free". Restaurants don't get bullied into giving everything away so they can sell T-shirts. There's a balance to be found. The Ascap 30-second thing will rightly be shot down. Holland recently back-tracked on charging for YouTube videos embedded in sites. Meanwhile, thanks to everyone that supports music!

     

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  16.  
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    Adam Wexler, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 9:20am

    The Long Tail

    Sean makes a valid point above. TV has figured it out...but why not commercials?

    I think the internet provides a great medium/platform for revitalizing some older songs that "never made the cut." There are so many gems out there, and so many have gone unheard.

    It's reasons like that that we start Rank 'em (www.gorankem.com). We allow the fans to rank their favorite songs from all their favorite artists. When you put the fan favorites together for each individual artist, it creates a POWERFUL resource that anybody can use from the most casual music observer to the most diehard fanatic.

    We've been in Private Alpha/Beta for the last ~8 monhs, but feel free to request an invite. We're always looking for the passionate and oppionated music fans!

     

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  17.  
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    Dez (profile), Oct 28th, 2009 @ 9:29am

    Guitar Hero did the same thing

    I gotta agree with the sweater song comment, I bought the song on iTunes PURELY because of the commercial (but I didn't buy any sweaters).

    Also, After playing the guitar hero series, I purchased a LOT of those songs for listening outside of my playing time, my favorite musical find was Dragon Force and I never would have heard of them if it wasn't for the game.

    Remember the Philips Magnavox song that was played ALL THE TIME for those commercials somewhere around 8-10 years ago. Another example of me buying a song/album because of a television commercial.

     

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  18.  
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    Valkor, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 9:55am

    Re: The Long Tail

    =D~~~
    (That's a plug)
    Smells like astroturf...

     

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  19.  
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    bh, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 11:44am

    senshikaze wins

    senshikaze's comment FTW.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 3:48pm

    Re: commercials

    I commend you for being brave enough to attach a real (?) name to your lack of reading comprehension.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 8:44pm

    Re: Slippery argument

    "Radio tried to not pay rights, arguing it was "promotion"."

    And apparently they once tried so hard that they were paid to do so.

     

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  22.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 29th, 2009 @ 1:15am

    Re: commercials

    For all you brainiacs out there, BMI doesn't sell music.

    Ah, when you have no real argument, you always start with an insult.

    Did anyone *say* that BMI sells music? No. We pointed out that promotion opens up lots of opportunities to make money. That doesn't just mean the direct sale of music.

    They collect royalties for songwriters (who are not necessarily recording artists) every time a song is played in public, including commericals. So how is it "stupid" for them to make sure songwriters are paid when their songs are used in commercials?

    Because it limits the market by putting a tax on it. Just because songwriters choose a dumb business model doesn't mean the world needs to bend over backwards to make it work.

    Time for a better business model.

    These are not taxes. BMI operates on a non-profit basis, paying about 87% of what they collect to songwrites and publishers.

    Heh. Tell that to the people forced to pay BMI. It's a tax. And the fact that they're non-profit doesn't mean anything. They're still collecting money and decreasing the market for music.

    Somebody on this forum obviously is clueless about how such organizations operate.

    Very familiar with how they work, thanks. I guess you needed to end on an insult too?

     

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  23.  
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    Heribert Witzka, Oct 29th, 2009 @ 2:54am

    Promotion vs. Income

    Seems the dying and old-fashioned music industry is trying to do the same things everywhere. The problem is in the greed of the executives. They think that the sales will be up no less whatever tax they put upon music. Then the math is simple: actual income + ( sales * new tax) = even more income.

     

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  24.  
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    Huge, Oct 30th, 2009 @ 12:47am

    That's a no-brainer

    Mike, I'd have thought it's pretty obvious. They do it because they are trying to preserve their cosy relationship with the major makers of broadcast adverts, etc. In other words, they used to be the only place to go if you wanted to find a cool song to use - but they're not any more.

    They are trying to make it harder for everyone else to compete - and they can just factor the extra taxes into their costs of production ...

     

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