Over the course of the decade we’ve seen the record industry’s profits quickly spiral down the drain. As that’s happened we’ve seen — or, rather, heard — more and more indie artists placing their songs into TV shows, movies, and commercials. From Modest Mouse on car commercials and American Idol, to the New Pornographers for the University of Phoenix, to Of Montreal recording a cover of their own song for Outback Steakhouse, the concept of selling out has never been more blurry.
At PopMatters they’ve spoken with several independent artists, including Petra Hayden and members of the Dodos and the Dears, about their experiences with placing their songs in television ads and their philosophies behind doing so. Most seem to agree that ad placement is now the most viable way for them to simply pay their bills. The idea of selling out still crosses their minds, but most say they go out of their way to make sure the ads are tasteful and suitable.
With people buying less and less records, and the recession hitting everyone’s pocketbooks hard and thus hurting revenue from performing and merchandising, it seems only natural for these artists to pursue other, more stable forms of revenue. Even if it does make for, um, emotionally confusing moments, like a Joanna Newsom song in a Victoria’s Secret commercial. [PopMatters]