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Tunes on The Tube: Songs Licensed for Commercials and Prime Time (Ben Harper, Sonic Youth, Edward Sharpe, Phish…)
About a year ago, Stephen Colbert invited the Black Keys and Vampire Weekend onto his show The Colbert Report in order to battle for his vote for the Grammys’ Best Alternative Music Album. It was a “sell-out-off,” Colbert dubbed it. The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney listed the commercials where there music has appeared: Zales, Victoria’s Secret, Nissan and Sony Erickson. Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend lists Honda, Tommy Hilfiger, and Hewlett Packard. It’s a situation that many bands have found themselves in: sell a song for commercial use, make a good amount of money to fund the next record, and get some mainstream listeners. Or, on the flip side, refuse the money and keep diehard fans by not licensing the song for commercial use. And these decisions aren’t without controversy: musicians seem to need to defend themselves against the ‘sell-out’ attacks from diehard fans. But we’ve all got to pay our bills, and sometimes, artistic integrity might have to take a back seat. Here, we round up some notable songs that have appeared in commercials and prime-time television.