In the past couple of weeks you may or may not have seen the new Ikea ad featuring an emerging underground act with one of their songs plucked from near obscurity into the popular stratosphere known as Prime Time. The band in question was An Escape Plan and the release coincided with the launch of the new IKEA campaign for 2013, which the lead track 'Living Together' soundtracks. This was originally written by The Bee Gees and released in 1979 on 'Spirits Have Flown'.
Nothing new here you might think, as brands and products routinely sync bands to endorse or soundtrack their commercials. It's proven quite popular too - 250,000 or so views only just after just a few days. Not quite Gangnam Style, but then do we want that again? After all, Ikea used London act Man Like Me a couple of years back to cover Jona Lewie's "You'll Always Find Me in the Kitchen at Parties".
But this time this provides an insight into two talking points: a) how despite record sales plummeting and Adele dragging the music business single-handedly means that revenue and opportunities have narrowed significantly, therefore creating an avenue for sync opportunities and b) how indie rock has found a new beacon of hope as a direct result of this.
Speaking to Alex Lee Thomson at Green House Group, a social media digital company in East London, he handles the band's PR. He speaks of the opportunity that arises from syncing:
"What makes this so exciting is that Ikea are doing what only a major label can really do, and that's offer untold exposure for a band." Alex says. What's different is they're willing to support a genuinely emerging act, something that a major wouldn't necessarily be able to justify.
A band at the level of An Escape Plan would never usually find a way into millions of people's living rooms and land a quarter of a million YouTube plays in less than a week - and that level of exposure will without doubt lead a heck of a lot more people to discovering the band's record.
This opportunity is a springboard, so it's vital that everything else makes sense - the record's good, there's a good team around it - because while this is a phenomenal chance to make a splash, it's ultimately the start of a band's career. We're already planning the next however many months and years, which with a launch as big as this, we're sure will be really interesting."
What's interesting now is that with indie music being tipped to make comebacks but with no act at the forefront to spearhead these 'scenes' like they did a decade ago, other options and initiatives are being taken. Ellie Goulding for John Lewis. Marina and the Diamonds for Bupa. Those are just two examples but you get the general idea.
Gone are the days where album sales sold in the hundreds and thousands, let alone millions. Those that can do that of one album in this country, you could count on one hand the amount of acts that can.
As more people use Shazam and SoundHound and find it easier to discover music ad-hoc, bands like Alex Clare and An Escape Plan can really make a name for themselves. Alex Clare for instance had been forgotten by his label. He was considered a failure, then he got the Explorer advert and made the Shazam chart by people trying to find his music. A similar sort of deal for a band like the Lumineers: they had massive adverts, people found them on the adverts and thus success. Almost as easy as one, two, three.
For all the talk of that and an industry on hard times, sync looks like it will do alright for itself helping bands, kitchens and private health insurance in the process.Suggest a correction