It is hard to argue that any computer or electronics company has tried to tie itself to cutting edge popular music more than Apple. Apple Computers reinvented itself on the strength of their portable music device, the iPod, and has been at the forefront of the legal digital download market with iTunes. While Apple has leased many classic tunes for its advertising, appearing in an Apple commercial can truly jumpstart the career of an emerging musical artist.
When the first Apple iPod commercials began playing in 2001, each of the four different commercials used a different song. While Smash Mouth’s “All-Star” remained an overplayed hit when the commercial was released and Seal’s “Crazy” showed no change in sales by being featured, newer acts fared better. Sister Hazel, who had been written off as a one-hit wonder, managed to turn their floundering album Fortress into a gold record by letting Apple use the single “Beautiful Thing” in their first commercial! Even the Dave Brubeck Quartet successfully promoted using those first iPod commercials. Inclusion of the classic jazz song “Take Five” bolstered the sale of three Dave Brubeck Quartet albums in 2001!
They cannot all be winners, of course. The Apple iPod 5G commercials featured a U2 song, “Original Of The Species” that failed to break into the Top 40. U2 had little to complain about in its relationship with Apple, though; in 2004 the band teased its album How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb on iPod commercials using the single “Vertigo.” The commercials using “Vertigo” used dancing silhouettes that pushed the album’s sales up to nine million units sold, in a year rap and hip-hop music dominated the music industry.
Arguably, no one has benefitted more from an association with Apple advertising (outside Apple itself!) than the artist Feist. Feist released her album The Reminder in April, 2007 to little fanfare and very little radio support. Feist’s song “1 2 3 4” from The Remainder was featured in the 2007 iPod Nano 3G commercials promoting the different color shells of the Nano. Following the launch of the commercial, sales of The Remainder skyrocketed to sell over one million copies! “1 2 3 4” has sold 1.2 million digital downloads, most of them through iTunes!
Apple ties its products to trendy music in a way that has a proven record of revitalizing careers as well as pushing struggling artists to the forefront of the public’s attention. Perhaps that is why Grouplove is so happy to have their song “Tongue Tied” featured on the new iPod Touch 4G commercials. The iPod Touch 4G will undoubtedly be one of the bestselling Apple products this Christmas season; it remains to be seen how Grouplove fares!
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