Laura Mayer is an Associate Producer at WNYC.
Soundcheck asked Josh Rabinowitz, senior vice president and director of music at Grey Group, for a list of the best in music and branding in 2008. And because Josh works so fast, he gave us two! (See above: He apparently can't even sit still for a headshot.)
In 2008, the worlds of music and branding produced several noteworthy partnerships, as well as some incredibly cool track usages for broadcast TV and Web advertisements. Sadly for the music industry, the branding equation wasn’t the savior that they had wished for – yet. But as the music industry continues to change from a recording-based trade, to a digital- and media-led business, branding will be a vital way for those who create and produce music to actually make money from it.
Here is my Top-5 list of newsworthy branded music initiatives. (It will be followed by my Top-5 track choices for 2008)
1. TAG Records
In April, Procter & Gamble Co., the world’s largest marketer, partnered with the record label Island Def Jam Music Group to launch a record label tied to its TAG men's deodorant and body spray. Jermaine Dupri, the Atlanta-based rapper and music producer, was named president of TAG Records. Is this highly-hyped initiative trying to boldly go where no brands have gone before? Check out the TAG website.
2. Chris Brown “Forever” Single, or should I say Jingle?
Chris Brown’s Top-10 hit “Forever” was actually an extension of a jingle done for Wrigley’s, an updated re-do of the “classic” Doublemint jingle from the 1960’s. Fans of the hit were bewildered when they heard Brown sing/croon the lyrics “Double your pleasure, double your fun.” But it all made sense (and cents) when the jingle hit the airwaves months after the single’s Jive records March release. Here’s the ad.
5. Will.i.am’s Viral Music Video “Yes We Can”
In January, producer and artist Will.i.am teamed with director Jesse Dylan (son of Bob Dylan) to release a music video called 'Yes We Can.' The Bob Marley-like anthem turns the Illinois senator's Jan. 8 New Hampshire primary-night address into lyrics performed by Will.i.am, as well as almost 40 other actors, celebrities and athletes, including John Legend, Kate Walsh, Aisha Tyler, Amber Valletta, Taryn Manning, Nicole Scherzinger, Common, Scarlett Johansson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Herbie Hancock and Nick Cannon. Here we have an example of great music reverberating through passionate artists with a strong message – maybe the most important message of our time. Now that’s branding!
1. “New Soul”, Yael Naim (Apple)
Israeli born, Yael Naim’s track “New Soul” became a global smash because of it’s use in the Apple Macbook Air Ad. Not only did Billboard Magazine claim that getting your song into an Apple Ad is the best of their top-100 ways to get “Maximum Exposure”, but the track’s simple refrain, coupled with Naim’s French-Tunisian-and-Isralei Tinged English vox, and backed by her out of tune piano vamp, tattooed the song in millions of consumer-come-fans frontal cortexes. It is rumored that the song was discovered by Mr. Steve Jobs himself.