Saturday, June 10, 2006

Britt Daniel Wants to sell you a car...

... or XM radio...
... or AMC's series Hustle...

Before I continue on this path, let it be known that I really like Spoon and that they are worth all the preise they get. They seem to be a favorite of the folks at Time and Newsweek, as well as a typical indie standard. They may even be one of the few bands that can handle the stardom that is probably slowly approaching them as they sell themselves out to more and more people.

Last night I was watching TV - the channel and the program exactly I forget, but I believe it was a documentary on strange physiological mysteries or the like on the Travel Channel - and I saw a commercial for XM radio that started out with a scene of a laundromat with the subtitle "Bob Dylan was discovered here." By commercial's end, the song "Sister Jack" by Spoon was playing at full blast while the camera showed a little cafe of the Starbucks variety, in some hip and trendy urban center. The subtitle was "Spoon was Discovered Here".

I am only reminded of the first time that I saw an "indie" band sell out their song to an advertisement while they were not in the media's eye. In 2003 (I forget the date) - a few months before before megastardom and a platinum record from that catchy single "Float On" - Modest Mouse sold out their song "Gravity Rides Everything" to Nissan; it was then placed in one of their ads. From then on, I have seen quite a few "indie" bands in advertisements - most strange of all, the use of Sufjan Stevens in a commercial for the music channel Fuse.

I have no idea whether such things are the best for the artists. In the case of Spoon, the stuff they're doing is so mainstream that a bit of success might make them better. In the case of Modest Mouse, though, their early releases up to The Moon and Antarctica were jammy, psychadelic, and experimental - three no-nos in the world onf mainstream music. When Modest Mouse made the switch to mainstream pop - and therefore cut off all the psychadelic jams (think Night on the Sun and The Stars are Projectors), it was a loss. The White Stripes, however, were able to expand their sound after being discovered by a mainstream hungry for what's "hot" - so in no way can the effects on success be predicted.

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