Monday, April 30, 2012

Cable on the Silver Screen

As we have previously discussed, edginess is a fine line to walk for TV show producers and networks. Not only are you risking societal backlash from parent organizations and anti-violence and/or lude behavior groups, but they run the traditional risk of not garnering a loyal and devoted audience. This loyal and devoted audience will not just keep the shows on air, but will support the series into perpetuity through DVD sales. Yet, the recent activity at the Gateway Film Center in Columbus, OH would suggest that this model is thrown out the window as they offer screenings of Mad Men and The Killing on the silver screen. Now, you may ask yourself, has AMC gone nuts?
When analyzed through Havens & Lotz's model of media mandates, conditions, and practices, it does not appear so. Why? Well, the conditions in which these types of shows operate require a esteemed critical acclaim as it denotes a certain cache for audiences members to attain for their own through watching the program. Moreover, the practices of watching television are now so scewed towards an individual sitting in their bed watching a show on their laptop, it seems appropriate that AMC would offer up the rights to Gateway in order to create a shared experience within the community of these loyal fans. It may not show up on the Nielsen ratings, but it will show up in merchandising if viewers ascribe an even greater positive experience to watching the show on their own. From the theaters perspective, this is another opportunity for them to make sales on the "20 beers on draft, cocktails, drink specials" while providing free admission for content they did not have to purchase at the same price of a feature film (Gateway Film Center). When you consider the upfront and sunk cost of financing an exhibition venue requires owners to create marketing campaigns that drive greater volume of patrons into their venue at times they normally wouldn't come to a theater and also purchase concessions that support this exhibition process. The overall implications of this unusual practice by a commercially driven industry is to, not suprisingly, make commercial gains through less explicit means. It looks to tap into a pool of forward-thinking patrons that normally frequent the film center for edgy films and creates synergy in this demand by providing edgy television content at the same kind of venue. 

A Dual Partnership: Music and Advertising

"We Are Young" by Fun was used as background music in Chevrolet's 2012 Superbowl Ad.  The All-New Chevy Sonic uses this song in it's advertisement as an attempt to connect with the individual consumer so they will buy their car.  However, Chevrolet never realized its potential impact on the song itself - since the Superbowl, the song has remained at #1 or close to it on Billboard's Hot 100, and has gained close to 3 million dollars in sales.

The impacts of the implementation of music in advertisements has lead to a dual partnership between the industries.  This is due to the fact that popular music has been, and continues to be, utilized in commercials; however, the costs of using more popular, established music and musical artists are greater than those of newer unfamiliar songs.  Therefore, a commercial that introduces a new song creates recognition of the brand when the song is heard, and increases sales for a musical artist.  Studies have discovered that feelings generated from hearing liked music in combination with a product can positively affect product choices.  Additionally, when a person hears a song in a commercial, he becomes inspired to find the song and download it instantaneously, so that both the brand and the musical artist win.

New forms of music distribution demonstrate the intersection of the economic conditions and distribution practices of both the advertising and music industries.  Music placement in advertising becomes economic as it provides a new venue for collecting revenue, and the widespread and repeated exposure of commercials provides either for revival of or new interest in the particular songs and/or artists featured.  Television commercials have become a platform for music-sales promotion, as it as another venue through which both industries can make money, while selling records and products, and getting exposure.  However, the affiliation of a song to a commercial may be considered a threat to authenticity, and to the legitimation of popular music as art.

Licensing songs to commercials has become much more accepted and widespread today because of cultural changes in society.  People are generally pirating music because people's knowledge of copyright is very limited, making it harder to make a living as a musical artist.  This has forced fans and critics to lighten their tone regarding the way advertisers and musical artists are making money.  On the other side, the use music in advertising may feed into people retaining little of the ad content they see, therefore misinterpreting much of the message.

Related Articles:
Music's New Form of Advertising
Music Placement in Advertising
Alternative Rock Music in Radio Advertising
Rock Star!

Music and Advertising--> "Musical Marketing"

The partnership between music and advertising industries is a partnership that benefits both the industries. By entering the advertising industry, musicians are now presenting their products to a group that would not have particularly listened to their music. Or their music in a particular advertisement serves as an alternative platform for further exposure. For the music industry, this partnership serves as an additional source of revenue in their business practices. The abundance of music piracy, and the newly emerged expectations of audience to find their music for free, has altered the business models and hurt the profit revenue stream for the music industry. Hence, by placing their music in advertisements, musicians and music companies are only attempting to generate additional revenue for their work and product as well as expanding their audience.
In addition, entering a partnership with the advertising company is beneficial for the music companies (and artists) because advertising is now an additional service that promotes their work of art. Instead of using their own money to promote their music (which only adds on to their expenses), music industry is getting paid my advertising companies to use (and promote) their music. Gabriel Beltrone gives an example on how the convergence of these two industries are helping both advertising companies as well as indie rock artists in his article, “Behind the Music.”
Having the music in advertisements has possibilities of positive results for the advertising companies as well. Integrating songs, well known songs that consumers are already familiar with aids in making the advertisement memorable for the users. The psychology behind this phenomenon is explained by Claire in "The Music and The Memories." With technological advances such as the introduction of DVRs have allowed consumers to skip over advertisements during their favorite TV shows. They have found other ways around advertisements to consume their media products. Therefore, when a popular song is in an advertisement, the brand message sticks with the media consumers. So, even if they are fast forwarding through an ad in their DVR, they will remember the ad the song as well as the brand message.
Advertisers are also including cover versions of popular music in order to make that music “their own” in some ways. The idea behind this is that, the audience will recognize the song that is being featured in an advertisement, and they can see the “new form” of the song in the context of advertising. And finally, this new version of the song can be associated with the brand. in addition, using familiar  songs in advertisements "creates a sense of familiarity with the brand." and is referred to as "Musical Marketing" by Laura Hudson. 
The Chrysler Commercial with Eminem is one example that shows how Musical marketing has helped both the artist as well as the brand. this advertisement not only reminds  the audience of Eminem's 2002 hit, "Lose Yourself" but the message from the song also resonates with the message of the commercial. This commercial becomes memorable for the audience because they can associate it with a song they already know, which ultimately results in remembering the commercial (and therefore the brand). at the same time, this commercial also boosts the image of Eminem as the artist as "it likened him to a rap diva." This was a beneficial way for Eminem to earn money on an old song that he had already put out there. 
Commercials: Yet Another Revenue Opportunity

Today's Internet age has undoubtedly changed the music scene and the way in which we obtain our favorite tunes.  The prominence of programs like Napster and Limewire has allowed the public to download any of their favorite songs without paying.  In addition, Itunes has also changed our purchasing of music.  Instead of paying for the entire CD, we can now choose our favorites and save some money.
That being said, there are still plenty of opportunities for artists and record companies to gain profit.  Among these are the possibilities to feature your song in a prominent commercial.  This makes sense for the artist in multiple ways. First, the company likely pays the record company a decent amount of money for the song in the form of royalties.  These synchronization royalties help the artist and publisher make up for some of the losses in illegal downloads.  Thus, commercials and movies have become a major player for artists to continue to develop a steady stream of profit.
In addition, it helps artists that are perhaps not that well known.  For example, the new FUN song, "We Are Young," was featured in a Chevy Sonic commercial at this years Super Bowl.  Within days the song skyrocketed to the tops of the Itunes charts.  Clearly, the band benefited tremendously from having this commercial air to millions.  It spread the song to the masses and provided a way to encourage the sale of their song, and music in general, to the public.  Through the commercial the band generated great publicity.
Lastly, this helps the advertising of the car or other product as well.  If the advertising company chooses an already popular song or well-known verse, the song will soon be tied to that product.  With that, the public will automatically associate that product when they hear the song on the radio or their ipod.  Thus, the advertising and music industries enjoy a relationship with mutual benefits.  The artist and record companies enjoy royalty payments from the product and the notoriety that is associated with being in a well-known commercial.  In addition, the product enjoys the association with being known as the product that represents the popular song or band.  From now on, I'll always remember Chevy Sonic because of the FUN commercial in the most watched event of the year, the Super Bowl.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Music and Advertising

Recently, it is more dificult to find a commercial without music in the background, and the partnership between advertisement and musician has been becoming more important.
Quite honesly,  I had never asked myself why it was so important, because it was so natural to me to have a commercial with the famous musician's music. However, if I re-think about it, this is a very effective and successful partnership for both advertisements and musicians because they help each other to make profits very well.

First of all, the musicians including songwriter and music publisher get paid from advertsing agency to give the right to use the music. According to this site, "Licensing Hit Songs For Advertisng Commercials" (, fees paid to the songwriter and music publisher can range from over $1,000,000 for a major advertisements and product to $10,000 for the smaller or local campaign.The important thing to note here is that copyright ownership of the song will never be lost for the musicans. It will stay with the musicans, which means that it will never be transferred to the advertising agency. Therefore, this is a very good way to get paid for the musicians, because they only gain without losing anything.

Secondly, according to Hurton (1989), there are 6 basic ways in which music can contriibute to an effective broadcast advertisments:1) entertainment, 2)structure/continuity, 3)memorability 4) lyrical language 5)targeting, and 6)authorty establishing. ( Because of these factors, music helps advertisments to be more effective, and it becomes more approaching to the audeinces. Music helps to stuck the advertisements in our head, and that is what advertising agencies want. If the music is catchy and get attention from the audiences, it automatically leads to the audences' attention to the advertisements and its products. 

Finally, the commericals are advertisements of music as well. It's always possible that people get to know and become more intersted in the songs by watching the advertisements. People listen to the part of the song in the advertisement, start searching about the song, and possibly buy the song. This leads to make even more profit for the musicians.

Especially recently, the information about both advertisments and songs spreaded very fast and easily by use of technology. For example, this website "Best Ad Song of 2010" ( features both the songs and commercials from 2010. People can get to know about what songs were used in which commercial at the same time, this kind of information is very helpful for both musicians and advertising agencies. Additionally, because it is possible to watch and update video more easily on the internet recently, both musicans and advertising agencies get "free advertising" by the audiences if they get passonate fans

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Economic Conditions and Creative Practices in the Ad World

The advertising industry over time has done a great job of incorporating popular or appropriate music into their advertisements in order to attract the attention of the viewer. This is a very popular approach because in this case two parties gain and profit off of this partnership. The economics of this decision is a win win for the advertisers and the musician. This is because first of all, the artist is gaining profit for allowing the rights of their song to be in the advertisement. Second, The advertiser has reason to believe that this will net them more profit for making a successful ad. Essentially the musician is putting their product into an ad. In discussing economic conditions, Havens and Lotz say, "many in the advertising industry believe that product placement must be organic (seem natural or fit well) if it is to succeed." This is something that I agree with and one recent commercial that I can think of that does this better than anything is right here. This advertisement is for a new cell phone that comes with the beats audio. For this they incorporated a person walking down the street listening to music, so essentially they put in a catchy song to go with it. This song was provided by the new up and coming rapper Machine Gun Kelly.

The creativeness of this advertisement and others like it benefits both parties. As I searched for this ad I saw all kind of tag lines asking for the song in the Verizon HTC commercial. First of all this creates product recognition and the advertiser gets recognition for that. Also, this allows Machine Gun Kelly to become more recognized and potentially sell more tickets on his recent tour or more singles of this song and others. This inclusion of music is what some would call a formula. In the creative practices section Havens and Lotz say, "We consider formulas to include the reliance on known attributes in design and production of a media text...that have proven successful in the past." This seems to be a formula that as I can remember Apple used to sell their ipods. This was one of the most successful advertising campaigns in my opinion where they showed colorful shadows listening to a new up and coming popular song. This not only was very successful for Apple and the iPod but also for the artists involved. You can see one of these commercials here. This is a model that seems to have stood the test of time and it is not a strategy I see going away anytime soon. Overall it is a great model in which the advertisers and musicians both win.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Film Prices put Economics on its Head

As Drake discusses in the article, the price to see a film in movie theaters is set at the same price for all individual films. This is a very interesting point that is made by Drake because economics in a capitalistic market would say that the individual films should be able to control their prices for viewership. In terms of  the risk it is pretty obvious that these movies released at the same time have up to hundreds of millions of dollars invested that are at risk. In the modern age of film making there is a struggle to decide on whether the studio should spend this large amount, or make it a smaller budget and risk making a movie with less quality.
With this becomes the important part of the consumer. With an industry that offers heterogeneous products for the same price, that also have different sunk costs, it will be driven by the consumer. There is no other market, other than in the media, that sets up their pricing model this way. This leads to a lot of risk where a few films can essentially have an oligopoly over the entire market. describes an oligopoly as two or more "firms" controlling the market. In this case the firms are films but I truly believe that is what we are seeing in today's movie market. Go here to see what the box office numbers are for the past weekend along with their total gross revenue on the right side. As you look at the numbers you can see that, as movies are not allowed to price discriminate based on their demand it creates an equal opportunity for consumers to choose which film they want to see.
Although there is this peculiarity in the film industry, marketing can play a very large role in reducing this risk of a film "flopping" in an oligopolistic market. One example that I can think of comes from a few years ago when Will Ferrell made a string of movies that were questionable to say the least. When he made the films Land of the Lost and Super Pro there were a lot of skeptics that said these films would not do well. Just by putting Will Ferrell in these films and marketing them for countless times on TV and in the media they were able to have successful box office revenue. A more recent movie that I can think of tailored more towards the younger college aged generation that did this was well was Project X. They created a movie with a small budget, and marketed it to our demographic to the extreme. With this model they were able to see quite a lot of success as well in the box office. So, although the economics of the box office film industry are upside down to an extent, it allows it to be a true market run by the largest movie critic that is the consumer.