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Indie-Rock Ad Jingles

by Dan Weiss

Indie-Rock Ad Jingles

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The use of indie and alternative music for selling things like cars and Big Macs makes a lot of us shrug. While some still believe the practice of licensing songs to advertisers is hurtful to music, others think indie musicians have finally found a way to get by. And it all depends on the band and the product, too. Arcade Fire only agreed to let "Wake Up" be in a Super Bowl ad if proceeds went to Haiti; Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal has said he regrets letting Outback change the lyrics of his song "Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games." Bands like Phoenix ("1901"), Foster the People ("Don't Stop") and Grizzly Bear ("Two Weeks"), meanwhile, have become more ubiquitous thanks to their ad placements. But this is really nothing all that new: You may have missed hearing The Shins' "New Slang" in a McDonald's ad long before Zach Braff convinced people the song would change their lives. Interestingly, it mentions "the dirt in your fries." No one said catchy music couldn't be used for subversion as well.

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