Monday, March 31, 2008

Does Alicia Hold the Keys to 20-Something Women?

R&B Singer Stars in Dove's New Micro-Series

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 03.31.08 @ 01:03 PM

Keys, alongside Desi Lydic, on 'Fresh Takes'
Hot on the heels of Sunsilk's ground-breaking global launch this month starring Madonna, Unilever is making more waves with R&B singer Alicia Keys, who is starring in a new micro-series for Dove's new "Go Fresh" fragrance collection. "Fresh Takes," aimed at 20-something women, was created jointly by media agency Mindshare Entertainment and MTV.

The micro-series runs for 5 weeks during "The Hills" on MTV, and the first 3-minute episode premiered a week ago. Like "The Hills," Dove's branded show gives viewers a look at three girlfriends who navigate their lives through laughter, Facebook and text messages.

All the episodes, as well as exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of Alicia and the entire cast, will be available on and MTV's microsite after each air-date.

In a press release issued Friday, Keys said, "I am so excited to be starring in 'Fresh Takes' because it puts the pressures that I deal with every day in a new light and opens my eyes to the reality that I can be successful in many different ways and have every reason to feel beautiful right now." This isn't the first acting gig for Keys, who got her start in an episode of "The Cosby Show" and is slated to appear in "The Secret Life of Bees" next year.

Unilever appears to be surging ahead of the competition with these brand-music tie-ins and it's good to see that a media agency and media channel have led the development of this idea, which is something that I believe we should be seeing more of. Full marks all round! [Ed. That's an A+ for us Americans]

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dave Matthews Gives Live Audiences Free Momento
Live CD Scheduled for October Release to Be Made Available as Free Digital Download for Ticket Holders

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 03.28.08 @ 04:00 PM

It wouldn't be summer without a Dave Matthews sell out tour!

Dave Matthews Band and Ticketmaster announced this morning that fans who buy tickets for the group's upcoming 40-city tour will also get a free digital album.

The live disc, which will feature highlights from this summer's concerts, will be available in stores and digitally via iTunes in October, but fans who buy tickets through will be able to get the album free via digital download soon after the tour completes, one month in advance of the album's street date.

The deal portends what many have been suggesting and what the industry is begrudgingly heading towards: recorded albums as side attractions to profitable musical brands. With declining CD sales and an increasing reliance on merchandise and tour revenues -- hence the development of 360 deals -- this tie-in effectively positions the album as an extra bonus instead of the driving force for income. Ticket prices for the upcoming tour appear to be about on par with past years.

The free-album-with-ticket concept was pioneered by Prince, who gave away copies of his last album with tickets to his 21-consecutive-night sell-out run at London's 02 centre.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Goodbye Record Label Hello Corporate Sponsor!
Groove Armada and Bacardi Sail Out of "Perfect Storm" and Hit the News Headlines in the UK

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 03.27.08 @ 12:31 PM

Last week, top British dance act Groove Armada and drinks company Bacardi announced their new partnership, and it's now hitting the mainstream television news in the UK. The deal is being hyped as an example of how the "perfect storm" engulfing the record industry can produce some ground-breaking new initiatives to keep careers alive.

Bacardi & Groove Armada sail in to new waters

The report on the UK's Channel 4 news yesterday, entitled "Goodbye Record Company, Hello Corporate Sponsor," highlighted the Groove Armada / Bacardi deal as an example of the "superbranding of bands" trend and also covered Madonna's recent deal with Sunsilk and her exit from Warner Music to a new 360 degree partnership with Livenation. The piece speculated on whether other super-acts, including The Rolling Stones, who are currently in danger of leaving EMI, would follow suit and develop new partnerships that excluded the traditional record label.

Explaining the decision not to renew the group's deal with a traditional record label, Groove Armada frontman Tom Findlay told Channel 4 that the new deal with Bacardi "will give them total creative freedom" while allowing them to retain ownership of their own music and "taking them to places that they wouldn't normally benefit from going to" because of limited funds.

As part of the one-year deal with Bacardi B-Live, the drinks company's global music platform, Groove Armada will perform live at various Bacardi-branded events, including the April 19 B-Live Miami event, part of a broader, international, 25-date dance music performance series. Bacardi will also finance and help release Groove Armada's record releases.
Playground Battles
Two Different Dolls Hit the Music-Fashion Market, but Only One May Be Tween-Friendly

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 03.20.08 @ 10:50 AM

The tween market isn't just a Miley Ray Cyrus cupcake party full of feather boas and sparkly jeans. Sometimes things can get ugly.

Just ask the Pussycat Dolls, who launched their new range of lingerie at this year's LA Fashion week. The line was designed by the Dolls' founder Robin Antin, who described it as "feminine and edgy, just like the Pussycat Dolls." It's a far cry from where the act were heading a while ago, when they tried to introduce a range of dolls that were eventually nixed by Hasbro following pressure from third-party groups, including the organization Dads and Daughters.

Let's hope that Dads & Daughters take a better view of the other announcement last week that Jakks Pacific has signed a worldwide licensing agreement through CAA to develop and market a line of apparel, toys, dolls and other related products based on the award-winning and double-platinum American country music singer-songwriter, Taylor Swift.

Is it much of a stretch to imagine Swift's face cast in rubber?

Under the agreement, Jakks is planning a fall 2008 launch for a line of role-play toys (including Swift's signature crystal guitar), accessories, craft and activity sets and fashion dolls featuring Swift's most memorable duds. The Malibu, Calif., toymaker is hoping to hook on to the phenomenal success of Taylor Swift, whose double-platinum debut has spawned three Top Ten Billboard Hot Country songs.

UPDATE! Thanks to that now-ubuiquitous-but-we-thought-was-gone toy ingredient -- lead -- Miley Ray Cyrus is having her own merchandising issues.

[Jakks Press Release]
When Bands and Marketers Reach for the Same Audience
Both Parties Need to Understand Consumers, Speak Their Language

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 03.19.08 @ 12:19 PM

It's often been said that brands can learn a lot from the music business and the way that artists are marketed: building fan loyalty, harnessing the power of social networking, generating buzz through word-of-mouth and great viral campaigns, etc. But we are increasingly hearing from brand marketers that dealing with artists and labels requires traditional brand-marketing discipline in order to maximize success.

This topic was hotly debated at SXSW, which featured a number of panels and forums debating this area. Digital Music News interviewed some key folks who were there, many of whom commented that "speaking the right language is the first step to securing lucrative partnerships," as is "understanding the consumer, where to reach them and how to target them."

As music-brand partnerships heat up, management and labels will need to better communicate what it is that the artist can offer the brand, and that will best come from understanding what the artist's "brand equity"and marketing objectives are, and how these relate to the consumer brands that they want to partner with.

Having a better understanding of the artist's fans/consumers will not only help create better-informed brand-music partnerships, but it will also help artists make smarter business decisions. For example, would better consumer insights amongst the Nine Inch Nails fanbase have shown that they could have had even more success last week with self-released album "Ghosts I-IV?" Would the fanbase have borne 5,000, 10,000 or even 15,000 "Ultra-Deluxe" limited editions? Trent Reznor has done a fantastic job of maintaining the "Nine Inch Nails" brand, and his guerrilla and viral strategies have generated a lot of buzz. But maybe he could do some more research the next time he self-releases an album; the math of a success would far outweigh the math of conducting consumer surveys to find out.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Madonna and Unilever's Good Hair Day
Star Breaks New Single Globally Through Appearance in Hair-Care Commercial

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 03.17.08 @ 01:38 PM

Madonna debuts her new single "4 Minutes (to Save the World)" in a new Sunsilk commercial that hits the screens around the world today.

Photo Credit: AP

The song, produced by Timbaland and featuring Justin Timberlake, is from the singer's forthcoming album, "Hard Candy," due April 29. The track will also be premiering simultaneously on multiple radio stations worldwide at noon GMT and will be available as a download tomorrow via the Madonna Store.

This is the first time that a music-brand partnership of this magnitude has been seen with a world-class megastar teaming up with a major marketer for a global launch. The collaboration between the Madonna and Sunsilk began with an appearance in the brand's "Life Can Wait" Super Bowl ad, which also featured Shakira and Marilyn Monroe, in a campaign built on the idea that hair, more than any other physical attribute, plays a crucial role in a girl's power of transformation and self expression.

The new spot traces Madonna's ever-evolving look, keeping the Madonna brand itself fresh and appealing. David Rubin, director of U.S. hair-care operations, Unilever, in a press release said: "Madonna continues to be such an inspiration for young girls by continuously reinventing her looks, and we expect the new commercial will also encourage girls to evolve by changing their looks and making their hair and lives happen in a variety of exciting ways."

According to unconfirmed reports online at the time of the Super Bowl commercial, Madonna picked up a cool $10 million for this brand endorsement. If that's true, it's an impressive amount, but, more important, it shows how a relevant brand tie-in that leverages the artist's brand equity can be a real winner all-round, for Madonna, Sunsilk, fans and consumers.

[Press Release]
Mercedes-Benz Steers Musical Future Forward Auto Manufacturer Ramps Up Music Initiative

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 03.04.08 @ 12:20 PM

German automaker Mercedes-Benz is stepping up a gear in its drive to attract younger purchasers. In 2004 the company launched a music download initiative called Mixed Tape, which has attracted over 2.5 million users to download 28 million songs.

Mercedes-Benz has turned its Mixed Tape concept into an online video channel.

Now, Mixed Tape is entering a new era: Mercedes-Benz is keeping the popular download compilations and broadening its scope to include a monthly music show on Mercedes-Benz TV.

The half-hour Mixed Tape Music Magazine show features videos, album reviews and profiles of newcomers and established artists -- with a different theme for every show. Every eight weeks, music fans can download ten free tracks from up-and-coming artists, some of whom will be showcased in the monthly TV magazine.

This extension into online TV is an interesting move for Mercedes, whose original Mixed Tape site is claimed to be the most successful legal free music download site in the world.
Latin Lessons From Wisin & Yandel
Reggaeton's Hottest Act Builds Business From Brands

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 03.04.08 @ 11:42 AM

Wisin & Yandel, the multi-award-winning Puerto Rican reggaeton act, recently announced an innovative deal with Motorola and Latin American carrier SunCom to launch a W&Y-branded mobile phone that comes loaded with the new album "Los Extraterrestres."

A feature in last week's Billboard highlighted some of the other brand deals that this act has put together recently, including "Wymo," a joint venture with mobile aggregator Mymobile that will give Wisin & Yandel a share of the net revenue from exclusive W&Y content, wallpaper, videos and ringtones. The duo was also the first act to be featured on a customized Zune player, which was sold exclusively in Wal-Mart, and they recently launched their own sunglass and watch lines.

These deals are interesting, not just because they offer some real added value back to their fans but because Wisin & Yandel are operating a very well-thought-out approach to building their own brand through partnerships. This has allowed them to reinvest back into creating W&Y brand experiences for their fans, such as a high-profile but subsidized concert at Radio City Music Hall in 2007 and expensive cover art on the latest album, which the duo also helped pay for.

Wisin & Yandel's manager, Edgar Andino, a former marketing consultant, formulated this strategic approach to artist development with a two-year plan that focused on treating the group and its songs "like brands," according to Billboard.

I'm sure that we are going to see more approaches like this coming from forward-thinking artists and their management who understand the value of building the artist brand and delivering added value to their fan bases.

[Via Official Heat/Billboard]
Ads of Note: Ben Lee Blows Kohl's Away and More
Also: Brendan Benson Touches our Hearts and Dustin O'Halloran Scores Fashion

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap 03.03.08 @ 01:37 PM

Last week flew by with the Songs For Soap bloggers busy on a few other projects, so the posts haven't been quite as regular as they normally are, so here's a round-up of some of new spots that have recently hit our screens:

Kohl's Life In Rhythm Commercial featuring Ben Lee

While Aussie singer-songwriter Ben Lee's song "We Are All in This Together" plays, an increasingly strong wind blows around people, animals and several objects in this spring commercial for Kohl's. Lee first hit the airwaves as a teen sensation in the mid 1990s and struggled to make any impact in his early 20s, but he's now starting a nice comeback. His latest album "Ripe" features collaborations with well-known artists Benji Madden of Good Charlotte, Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek, Mandy Moore and the members of the band Rooney.

Apple - iPod Touch – Featuring Brendan Benson

The latest iPod commercial hit the screens last week, and it features the music of Brendan Benson, who is a member of The Raconteurs, a collaboration with Jack White of The White Stripes. The song "What I'm Looking For" from his last solo album was also used in a Sears commercial last year.

American Express – Diane von Furstenburg

Featuring the music of acclaimed classical pianist Dustin O'Halloran, Ms. Furstenburg is shown looking at designs in nature and working. She explains what she does in fashion, which is to make women feel confident. She then explains that is why she is a card member, as the beautiful soundtrack "Opus 28," by Dustin O'Halloran, plays in the background. O'Halloran's music has also been featured in the soundtrack for the 2006 Sofia Coppola film "Marie Antoinette."
Are Mobile Platforms a Life Raft for the Music Industry?
Mobile World Congress Shows Music Initiatives from LG, Tim McGraw

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in ad Age Songs For Soap on 02.19.08 @ 02:20 PM

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona last week played host to a number of music-related initiatives, including the introduction of a pre-loaded, music-focused device from LG and Omnifone, The Music Station Max. According to a report in Business Week, it's "the latest entrant into what amounts to a (music) gold rush for the mobile platform."

LG and Omnifone's Music Station Max

The service, which will be offered through Europe and Asia, will enable consumers who buy the pre-licensed handsets to download an unlimited amount of music that can be organized into playlists and shared with other users.

Artists have been out in force at the MWC too, with Tim McGraw unveiling a new mobile website that can be accessed by any mobile phone, regardless of model or carrier, and will enable fans to receive SMS and e-mail alerts, view breaking news, tour dates, photos or videos and purchase electronic media. Users can also access The Neighbor's Keeper Foundation, the charity he established with Faith Hill.

The seemingly ubiquitous Black Eyed Peas frontman presented the conference keynote, where he said: "The mobile industry, not the record business, will create the next wave of music superstars.", who is fast becoming acknowledged as a visionary in new music development and has been involved in the revolutionary use of mobile technology to interact with fans, also called on all artists to embrace the creative and marketing possibilities offered by the mobile industry.

All of this coming hot on the heels of the exclusive Timbaland/Verizon album release that we reported on last week makes phones a hot space indeed at the moment and perhaps marks the coming of age of mobile as one of the saviors of the future music business.
'Sultry' Joss Stone to Be the New Cadbury Flake Girl
R&B Singer Latest in Long Line of Chocoholic Females

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 02.13.08 @ 11:58 AM

Cadbury's Flake brand, which has developed some of the most memorable and long-lasting British advertising campaigns through its iconic "Flake Girl," has linked up with Soul Diva Joss Stone to give it a fresh approach this spring.

The chocolate brand has had one of the most memorable strap lines "only the crumbliest flakiest chocolate," which was often sung in the commercials and is a slogan that any baby boomer from the UK will remember from his or her childhood.

''Fold upon fold of creamy milk chocolate."

As far back as the 1969 black-and-white commercial featuring the "Flake Girls" biting suggestively on the stick of crumbly chocolate, the flake ads have tended toward the risqué. For example the "bath" ad from the 1970s featuring a Demi Moore lookalike, and the "phone" from the same period became famous for the sex/chocolate connection. Famous Flake girls have included the 1969 Miss World, Eva Rueber-Staier, who also starred in the James Bond films "Octopussy," "For Your Eyes Only" and "The Spy Who Loved Me."

In the adverts -- which will be available on Cadbury's site -- Stone will be in a recording studio singing to herself the chocolate bar's iconic strap line.

"The idea was to reference the old adverts but bring a new feel to them. Joss was chosen because she is sexy but in a young, fresh way," a Cadbury's source told British newspaper The Sunday Mirror. "Joss is funky and spontaneous rather than sultry."
EMI Partners With 'Google for Music Licensing'
World's Largest Online Music Marketplace to Gain One Million Tracks

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in ad Age Songs For Soap on 02.13.08 @ 10:45 AM

EMI Music has struck a global agreement with Ricall that will enable the reputed world's largest online business-to-business music database to license the music major's works for third-party synchronization.

Ricall claims to be the world's largest online music marketplace.

Ricall will also source and license premium licensing deals by linking-up EMI tracks with consumer brands and by acting as a conduit for brands to build broader brand-music partnerships with EMI's roster of artists (which include The Beatles, Lily Allen and Hot Chip among others). Sony BMG struck a similar licensing pact with Ricall in early 2007.

EMI will upload its entire global catalog of over 1 million recordings onto the Ricall database, which currently includes more than three million tracks from 25,000 copyright owners. The basic service is free to users, who can select and license the tracks online. The search technology which enables users to search for songs against multiple variables and criteria is such that industry users in London, where the company started, refer to it as "Google for music licensing."

Whilst being a major part of the UK sync licensing community for some time, Ricall has recently branched out into all major global markets. At this year's international music conference MIDEM, the music marketplace announced a joint venture with leading Chinese music company Ocean Butterflies and a partnership with copyright and licensing company Diamond Time for North America, where Ricall has recently launched a new site.

Jay-Z Moves Into Madison Avenue
Rapper, Club Owner, Fashion Designer, Icon and Now Adman

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 02.11.08

Jay-Z -- real name Shawn Carter -- is partnering with Interpublic Group to open Translation Advertising in New York, an agency that will help marketers reach multicultural consumers.

Jay-Z will be using using 'his eye, his taste, his understanding of the culture' at Translation Advertising.

The former head of Def Jam records is one of the most successful hip-hop entrepreneurs, who, as well as being a recording artist, owner of New Jersey Nets and creator of the Roc-A-Wear clothing line, has increasingly been called on as a marketer; he's partnered with Budweiser, Elizabeth Arden and others as a marketing and brand advisor.

The new agency will be part of Translation Consultation and Brand Imaging, the leading urban marketing and branding agency created by African-American entrepreneur Steve Stoute, which Interpublic (full disclosure: I used to work there) acquired last year for an estimated $10-15 million. Interpublic will own 49 percent of Translation Advertising, with 51% owned by Mr. Stoute, 37, and Jay-Z, 38, who will be the co-chairmen.

Jay-Z said in an interview in the New York Times that his role at Translation Advertising would be "to offer his creative and entrepreneurial ideas." Mr. Stoute described it as not "day-to-day operations," but rather "using his eye, his taste, his understanding of the culture."

This is undoubtedly an interesting move for Interpublic, as it enables them to further focus in on the growing African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American populations, which now account for an estimated $2 trillion in consumer buying power. But it's also an interesting move as it is yet another new business model coming to market in the world of artists and brand marketing.

From Ring Tones To Bling Tones
Modu, Universal Music Group Announce Customizable Phone

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 02.08.08 @ 03:05 PM

Start-up mobile company Modu unveiled a new phone today that will allow people to personalize it by sliding a "Jacket" over the body. Simultaneously, the handset maker confirmed a partnership with Universal Music Group to create artist-specific jackets, which will be designed/inspired by the musicians and include pre-loaded content and even music subscription offerings.

This could be a very smart move, as it takes the record label right into the heart of iPhone territory and also gives fans a way of getting an added value service and product that creates greater affinity with the artists.

The Modu phone is the brainchild of Dov Moran, who made his name as a pioneer of USB flash drive technology through his company M-Systems, which was sold to SanDisk in 2006 for $1.6 billion. SanDisk are backing this new company, which is promising to deliver big revenues and an innovation that allows consumers to cheaply transform phones into anything from a messaging device, a music player or a hand-held gaming console.

'Stand Up' and Support Bon Jovi and Friends
Stars Come Out to Support Inaugural Charity Event

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 02.07.08 @ 02:03 PM

On Feb. 12, Bon Jovi will launch the inaugural Stand Up For a Cure performance series in support of lung cancer research at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The band's concert, due to take place at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom, will be dedicated to Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora's father, Adam Sambora, who passed away last year from lung cancer.

According to, the upcoming benefit concert has already raised $1 million and will be sponsored by CityView Racquet Club, with AEG Live donating production help. That money will be used to fund three mobile hospice units -- named after Sambora's father -- that will service low-income neighborhoods in New York.

Jerry Seinfeld, ex-Beach Boy Brian Wilson, acclaimed Italian "Operatic-Pop" singer Andrea Bocelli and others will also perform in various New York City venues throughout 2008 for Stand Up for a Cure. These will include a stand-up performance from Seinfeld on June 2 at the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden, a concert with Wilson and special guests at the Hammerstein Ballroom on July 11 and a Bocelli performance later in the year. The organizers are still looking for other artists to support the initiative.

Over the years, Jon Bon Jovi, owner of Arena Football League team the Philadelphia Soul, has been a visible supporter of charitable groups like Habitat for Humanity, where he is the first Founding Ambassador of the Habitat for Humanity Ambassador program. On several occasions, he's even drawn from his own deep pockets to pay for homes in his adopted home of Philadelphia.
Yes We Can' Reach a Million Views
Obama Gets Support From Star-Studded Cast of Musicians in Big Viral Hit

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 02.04.08 @ 01:36 PM

In what is fast becoming a viral smash hit, a new music video for Barack Obama called "Yes We Can" hit YouTube this Saturday, with one copy racking up 700,000 views by the time the Super Bowl was over.

The video was conceived by Black Eyed Peas frontman and director Jesse Dylan and features a star-studded cast, including John Legend, Herbie Hancock, Common, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Scarlett Johansson, Tatyana Ali, Nick Cannon and many many more. The song's lyrics are adapted from Obama's post-New-Hampshire "Yes We Can" speech, which was based on Cesar Chavez's motto during a United Farm Workers hunger strike in 1972.

According to Dylan and in an interview on ABC News, the video and song were put together out of their own volition and not in concert with the Obama campaign. According to ABC "the filmmakers said that they weren't even sure if Obama [was] aware of the video," though by Sunday lunchtime the Obama Website featured the video on its official blog, where dozens of his supporters were urging people to pass the video on and make sure that "the entire world sees this video."

At lunchtime yesterday, 85,000 people had seen the video on YouTube, by 5 p.m. more than 153,000 had seen it, and by the time the Super Bowl had finished, it was at 700,000 views. Between two uploaded copies of the video, more than a million people have seen it so far.

This has all the signs of becoming a massive viral hit and a piece of communication that shows the increasing power that musicians have to influence the public, particularly through social networks where musicians and celebrities are the most popular subjects of interest.
Tim McGraw Cooks Up a Deal for the Summer
Kingsford, KC Masterpiece Support Country Star's Live Your Voice Tour

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 02.01.08 @ 11:45 AM

Barbecue sauce KC Masterpiece and leading charcoal manufacturer Kingsford are sponsoring country superstar Tim McGraw's 2008 Live Your Voice tour this spring.

McGraw's return to the road as a solo act comes after two years on the road with his superstar wife Faith Hill on their Soul2Soul II tour, in which they had a very impressive deal with Jeep. The partnership was the winner of Billboard's inaugural Billboard Concert Marketing & Promotion awards in 2007 and featured in our year-end review of best brand-music tie-in's for 2007.

This new partnership seems to be designed with a similar principle of giving plenty of opportunities and unique interactions to the fans. According to Billboard Magazine, "The two brands will present the VIP Pre-Show Party where McGraw performs a private acoustic set prior to each show. Fan/brand site EchoMusic, a division of Ticketmaster, will integrate the sponsorships through online fan and brand initiatives."

Additionally, Fritos will be the "Official Snack" of the tour and the presenter of the StyleSonic Stage, which will feature artists chosen by McGraw who will perform prior to the start of each concert and have their music made available for free download via the McGraw website for fans that purchase tickets.

All sounds rather tasty!

Peter Gabriel Takes 'Sledgehammer' to Old Music Models
'Personality of the Year' Shows Hope for Marketers, Artists

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 01.31.08 @ 12:20 PM

Music veteran Peter Gabriel was lauded as a visionary this week when he was named "Personality of the Year" during the annual MIDEM international music conference in Cannes.

Gabriel has invested significant sums of money and energy into various forward-thinking new ventures and business models, including a joint venture with leading UK VC Ingenious Media, who will finance his future albums and receive a share of revenue from his back catalogue.

His latest venture is the recently launched the We7 internet service, which allows consumers to access free, legal music downloads by inserting ads ad into the start of each song. Whilst ad-supported download models have sailed into stormy waters in Cannes this week, Gabriel's We7 has been received favorably by the advertising community. Gabriel also acknowledged that art and commerce will be inextricably linked in the future.

From the LA Times:
"It's climbing in bed with the devil," he said shortly before the award dinner at the Carlton Hotel. But the day of keeping the two-segregated may well be over.

"I'm a big fan of Neil Young," Gabriel said, "but the artist who has complete control of his music and keeps his music completely apart from advertising is probably a thing of the last century."

Toyota Helps Self-Made Musician Break Through

Pete Droge's Career Blurs the Lines Between Ads and Popular Music

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 01.31.08 @ 10:54 AM

Artist: Pete Droge
Song: "Going Whichever Way the Wind Blows"
Marketer: Toyota

Sometimes a song in a TV commercial sounds so familiar that you stop what you are doing and find out more, which is what happened when I saw the new Toyota Sequoia spot featuring "Going Whichever Way the Wind Blows" by Pete Droge.

The independent producer and singer-songwriter has been cleverly getting a number of songs from his self-released album "Under the Waves" into all sorts of TV shows and movies lately. In the last six months, the song that Toyota used has appeared in "Grey's Anatomy," "Men in Trees" and the movie "Feast of Love." Other tracks off the album have appeared in movies including "A Lot Like You," "Solstice" (directed by Daniel Myrick of "Blair Witch" fame) and the title track will be featured later this month in "Bonneville," starring Jessica Lange, Joan Allen and Kathy Bates.

When he's not writing and recording songs in his Puzzle Tree Studios on a remote island outside of Seattle, Droge is playing shows and producing for other people, including Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard's 2001 solo debut "Bayleaf."

While Droge's career is not totally unique, it nicely illustrates how commerce and art can come together to benefit one another and how the lines are becoming increasingly blurred between advertising and pop music. It's safe to say that he has achieved more fame and income by licensing his songs than by selling his records, but that ratio may soon change as Droge continues to work his way into America's pop consciousness.

Panic! at the Auto Show
Pop-Punk Band Headlines the Greenest Honda Civic Tour Yet

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 01.24.08 @ 04:48 PM

Honda has announced a tie-up with platinum-selling -- and now punctuation-less -- pop-punk band Panic At The Disco in the automaker's eighth consecutive year of music patronage through the Honda Civic Tour. Starting April 10, the show will make over 40 stops before it finishes this summer.

In the early years of the tour, Honda linked up with headline acts that were breaking through at the time, such as Incubus and Good Charlotte back in 2002 and 2003, but lately they've been pulling in big-name acts such as The Black Eyed Peas, Maroon 5 and last year's headliners, Fall Out Boy. This has allowed the organizers to be able to afford to take multiple up-and-coming or under-the-radar acts out on the road with them, such as Motion City Soundtrack, The Hush Sound and Phantom Planet in this year's tour.

As well as providing funding, Honda will also be providing a Panic At The Disco-designed Honda Civic Hybrid that will be featured at each show and then put up as the main prize for a lucky fan to win. The Panic At The Disco design features an outdoor theme that helps to push a green message from the band and Honda. This Green message will be further reinforced on the tour with every ticket purchased being matched with a donation to non-profit tour partners Reverb and Global Inheritance, who are partnering to bring "interactive, fun and fan friendly exhibits" at each stop on the tour.

All in all an excellent example of a brand-music partnership that benefits the brand, the band and the fans, but also the environment to boot.