The advertisement for the new VW Passat features a hapless businessman playing air drums along to the Rush classic "Fly By Night" while his car is stopped at traffic lights. Let's face it, it's a situation that we've all found ourselves in at one point or another (the drum fills in Iron Maiden's "Run To The Hills" make for a particularly good in-car air drumming session in Ultimate-Guitar's experience) and the commercial is both funny and relatable to many a rock fan. However, there's always something disconcerting about seeing one of your favorite songs used to advertise a product that has nothing to do with rock music.
And the use of rock music in advertisements is becoming increasingly common. As a recent article on ABC News notes:
"Gone are the days when rebellious musicians would shake their heads and laugh in scorn at the idea of selling their tunes to ad men. Songs are being licensed in such great numbers that if you close your eyes while channel surfing on TV, it might sound more like scanning the dial of a radio station."
With the uncertainty of the music market in the current day and age, it's unsurprising the artists are increasingly turning to the world of advertising as stream of revenue, and the question remains as to whether selling music to advertisements these days could be considered selling out. Scott Donaton, the editor of Advertising Age magazine, doesn't see the difference between a band selling their music to an advert and having a corporate sponsor on their tour:
"Advertising is entertainment, just like music is entertainment. There's nothing about selling records that isn't a commercial process already, and I think people realize that. What's the difference between selling a song toward an ad [and] having a corporate sponsor of a tour?"
But what do you, the faithful Ultimate-Guitar readers, think about all this?
Should bands license their music to commercials? What are the best and worst examples of bands' music being used in advertisements that you have ever seen?
And, if you were given the chance, would you sell one of your songs to the ad man in exchange for a fat pay check?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.