A Radio Station Devoted To Songs Used In Ads? What's the Frequency, Kenneth?

by , Nov 28, 2011, 5:13 PM
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I have a thing for music used in TV commercials. It’s borderline obsessive. A decent chunk of my downloaded music collection comes from songs I heard first in TV ads.

Take this Nike spot from 2008, for example. The ad itself is topnotch -- along with the song playing throughout -- “List of Demands” by Saul Williams, which still has a home on my running iPod, used heavily on speedwork days.

And nowadays, can anyone listen to “The Choice is Yours” by Black Sheep and not think of Kia Soul and its rapping hamsters?

Fortunately, I’m not alone. Slacker Radio, a free, online customizable music service, created a radio station made solely from songs used in TV commercials.

"TV Commercials Radio" plays roughly 175 songs and gets updated weekly, depending on the time of the year.

The station’s busiest time, according to Mat Bates, senior radio program manager at Slacker and programmer of TV Commercials Radio, is now, during the holiday season and around the Super Bowl. Bates also mentioned that car and liquor ads are the best song sources.

Don’t be surprised to hear "Days Go By" from Dirty Vegas, used in an ad for Mitsubishi, or “Hello" by Martin Solveig, found in an ad for Trident Vitality.

It’s fun to listen to the music and try to figure out where the song was initially used. Many songs were unfamiliar to me, and then the tune “Powerful Stuff” by Sean Hayes started playing and I immediately recognized it from an ongoing Subaru ad.

My only wish is that the playlist also included what commercial the song appeared in, saving me the extra step of Googling the answer.

“Music supervisors are a much more reliable source for new music discovery than commercial radio or any other traditional media outlet,” said Bates. “A well-placed commercial sync is more valuable to an artist in terms of exposure and engagement than heavy rotation on a terrestrial radio station. The idea behind this station is to showcase the work of those music supervisors and to help Slacker listeners engage with music that might have otherwise gone unidentified.”

Some other favorite guilty pleasure songs I found in TV ads are: “It’s Love” by Chris Knox for Heineken Premium Light Beer; "Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop" by Landon Pigg, used first by DeBeers and then AT&T; and my personal favorite, Discovery Channel’s promo for Shark Week, using Lady Gaga’s song, “Teeth.”

Do you have any favorite songs you first discovered, courtesy of a TV ad?

7 comments on "A Radio Station Devoted To Songs Used In Ads? What's the Frequency, Kenneth?".

  1. Dennis Elliott from Clear Channel Radio
    commented on: November 28, 2011 at 5:36 p.m.
    Breathe by Telepopmusik - the 2003 Mitsubishi Outlander commercial. Still enjoy and song on my mp3 player. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=assA9dDT1Gg
  2. Mark Walker from aka Media Mark
    commented on: November 28, 2011 at 6:24 p.m.
    I'm sure it would be awesome- if it only played iPod commercial songs!
  3. Joslyn Hansen from FremantleMedia
    commented on: November 28, 2011 at 8:59 p.m.
    Lots of songs I've gotten from commercials - yes to the Landon Pigg; also "Waterfall" by Griffin House from the Rembrandt kissing commercial; the "Major Tom" cover by Shiny Toy Guns from I think a Lincoln ad; of course Jet, but also "Flathead" by The Fratellis, from the original iPod series (their whole album Costello Music is great). Music For Kids Who Can't Read Good has a whole series of posts of songs from commercials - so convenient! http://musicforants.com/blog/?tag=commercial-watch
  4. Jennifer Batchelor from Zubi Advertising
    commented on: November 29, 2011 at 10:14 a.m.
    @Mark, iPod commercial songs are the best. Apparently Jobs used to pick them himself ;) My favorite is a song that's been featured now on a Mott's spot and also in this year's Superbowl commercial for Comcast Xfinity iPad by a band called Rabbit! The song goes "Good is good but great is better!" Love them!
  5. Leonard Appel from Screenvision
    commented on: November 29, 2011 at 10:58 a.m.
    A nice shout out to the Kia Super Bowl spot with "How You Like Me Now" by The Heavy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuSfLoXq22w And you certainly can't forget all the great ads that helped launch Moby's career.
  6. Suzanne Sanders from S2 Advertising
    commented on: November 29, 2011 at 7:13 p.m.
    Michelle Shocked "When I grow up I want to be an old Woman" for a Kaiser campaign.
  7. Stephanie Newby Tice from Hardwick Research
    commented on: November 30, 2011 at 6:14 p.m.
    This article was pretty timely for me- Monday night I was convinced the REI "5 Friends Skiing" commercial was playing a song by The Cure that I hadn't heard before . . . after Googling I found a new band! The song is called, "Chapel Song" by We Are Augustines. I always feel conflicted when I hear great music on commercials by (formerly) small bands- I want them to succeed but I also like that they're lesser known and the commercial play makes them "mainstream." The first time I heard The Postal Service in a Prius ad I was so upset- they were MY band and had "sold out" -to a PRIUS! :)

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