We want to start out by reminding you of the 2007 placement of Fiest's song "1234" in an iPod commercial. That single placement essentially turned the Canadian singer into a star and was at the beginning of what is now becoming a new medium for artistic exposure. Many have tapped into this market, including smartphone app developers, who have designed apps specifically to listen and help you name particular songs.That alone depicts a clear trend.
This year at SXSW, John Hansa, Michael Paoletta and Bonny Dolan all spoke on the panel "How Did This Song Get In That Commercial" to talk specifically about this growing industry, and may we add that it was extremely well attended.
It is recognized amongst industry professionals that artists tend to be more likely to license their music to film and TV, but less likely to do so for advertising. Paoletta says though, that "those artists are less and less today." Partially because we are in an age now where advertisers recognize that consumers aren't just buying a product, they are buying the ideals and ideas behind it as well, and are more careful with matching artists with brands. Artists and advertisers alike are recognizing now what Hansa puts so simply, that music "gives you a shorthand for emotion…what songs can do is get you from Point A to Point B and connect with an audience quicker."
Other factors play into the decision as well. Dolan mentions that, in addition to exposure and brand association, money also plays a huge role. Paoletta says that often, artists can expect low five figures to mid-five figures with regards to payment, while other factors like publicity of the ad (North America, global, internet, etc.) will also influence payment. "So it's money, it's payment and it's exposure", summarizes Dolan.
Where we may find more conflict though, is placing the larger, more well known artists. Here, numbers get huge. Dolan recently completed a $2 million license, and Paoletta also recently did a license for just over $1 million. And this is precisely where things get fuzzy. If a company doesn't have the funds to payout $2 million for a famous song or artist, they might ask for something that has a similar sound. But, Paoletta says, "You're walking a very fine line," as artists like Beach House, The Black Keys and Tom Waits have all sued over ad music that sounded suspiciously similar to their own.
Dolan mentions also that now artists are turning to writing songs or jingles, without wanting anyone to find out. Creatives are turning to this avenue, he says, because "Now you get one song. The whole music world is different. We have to change with the times, and these are the times."
NPR has a more detailed interview from SXSW and some of their own personal information.