POV (Perspective)
Top Ten For First 20 of the 2000s: Apple, VW, "Synchronistic" History
  • Friday, Jan. 15, 2021
Josh Rabinowitz

I, like many of you, came of age professionally in these first 20 years of the 2000s. 

I’ve been an advertising music executive and professorial accomplice in the ad music continuum.

Here are 10 things I’ve observed:

  • 1) More than any other brand, Apple became the top shaker/breaker and career-maker of artists and bands, aka the Apple Bump. These include artists like Yael Naim, Feist, Jet, The Ting Tings, Caesars, and Marian Hill, to name but a sliver.
  • 2) VW’s use of Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon,” 25 years after the singer tragically took his own life, sparked a total reassessment of synching songs with ads--and the rest is “synchronistic” history.  
  • 3) In 2000, there were maybe 100 active music producer/supervisors in the branded music space. Now there are way more than 2000.  The modern music business has adapted to service this shift.
  • 4) No matter how often folks in the ad space hear about copyright and sound-alike litigation re: ad music, and notwithstanding the brutal “Blurred Lines” scenario, creators continue to infringe upon the IP of existing music with abandon.
  • 5) The use of music libraries, aka stock music or production music, has become rampant.  Many claim that it’s a budgetary imperative, which may be true, but it’s irrefutable that the overall quality of their offering has improved tremendously.
  • 6) The concept/business of sonic branding, although around for many years prior to the Y2K, has become a darling of brand CMOs. And thus a cottage industry is born! Will the sound, or the Sonic DNA of your brand enhance its performance/business? Sonic strategists think so and brands are making 6-figure bets on it.
  • 7) Until Spotify, sync and brand partnership deals kept the modern music industry’s P&Ls afloat.  Super Bowl sync deals, specifically, were generating minimum 6-figure deals. Now with this recent trend of legacy songwriters selling their rights, outright, don’t be surprised to hear about even crazier high priced licenses. UMG has to make back the $300+ million they spent on Bobby Zimmerman’s (aka Bob Dylan) 600 songs, right?
  • 8) The role of the agency music producer/supervisor, possibly a brand’s greatest musical asset, is being challenged as the Big Agency model, the main home for said assets, slowly fades away. Look to see more music consultancies over the next 5 years. Don’t be surprised if the quality of original music, rather than licensed music, declines.
  • 9) With the successes of Lil Nas X and Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” vis-a-vis Tik Tok, there’s certainly going to be more ad music executions inflected by the social media cultural madness/fervor.
  • 10) My vote for the best music use of this period is Jet’s “Are You Gonna be My Girl” for the iPod.  Although the song isn’t the most original track ever, it integrates and resonates so well with the imagery, feel and product--it’s a musical freaking bull’s-eye!

Josh Rabinowitz is founder of Brooklyn Music Experience, a music consultancy, and a professor of Music in Media at The New School in NYC.

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