Only iPod Ads Can Save Us: An Enlightening Chat About Music and Advertising


Moderating a CMJ panel last month on what “Independent Culture” means in 2008 (the answer, incidentally, is “nothing”), I was struck as a wise and wizened crew of both established musicians (DJ Spooky, Dave Allen) and young upstarts (the dude from the Giraffes) all agreed that there’s only one way to make money in this business now: Get your song in an iPod commercial. With that in mind, please enjoy this excellent Q&A with lecturer/author Bethany Klein, author of the upcoming scholarly tome As Heard on TV: Popular Music in Advertising, who sheds light on how “selling out” is more acceptable now that there’s no other way to sell. Moby features prominently, of course. Run by official Friend of SOTC Matt Palmquist for the excellent Miller-McCune magazine, the discussion is notable for its mix of optimism and cynicism, the latter best exemplified by this exchange:

M-M: So what do we do about the labels?

Klein: (A long, heavy sigh.)

Fans of Brooklyn Vegan’s “This Week in Music Licensing” feature, take note. A helpful axiom to get us started: If you’ve ever illegally downloaded a band’s album, you forfeit the right to complain about how that band makes money.