The Black Keys and Vampire Weekend battled to earn the title of “Biggest TV Commercial Sell Out” on the Colbert Report last night.
This past holiday season it was simply impossible to go through an entire commercial break without hearing The Black Keys or Vampire Weekend. It was unavoidable because their music appears in roughly six different commercials, from Zales Diamonds to Tommy Hilfinger.
Selling song rights for commercials is nothing new in the indie community — Phoenix’s “1901″ played during every single Cadillac commercial of 2009. It’s an easy and lucrative paycheck in an industry that can no longer depend on album sales.
Last night on the Colbert Report, the show’s humble and modest host, Stephen Colbert, reminded his audience that he won a Grammy Award last year for “A Colbert Christmas: the Greatest Gift of All.” Colbert then proceeded to haphazardly fill out his ballot for this year’s Grammy Awards, until he got to his favorite category: Best Alternative Music Album.
“Which, for the squares out there, alternative refers to the independent, under-the-radar music, that edgy anti-establishment types can buy at Starbucks,” said Colbert.”
The Black Keys and Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend were invited to do battle in a “sell-out-off” for Stephen Colbert’s prestigious Grammy vote—because as ethics expert Stephen Colbert puts it: “The only way to tell which band has more edgy, non-commercial appeal is to see which band got their songs in more commercials.”
Personally, I feel that The Black Keys earned Colbert’s vote solely for their willing participation in a Zales commercial. Although kudos to Vampire Weekend for the Tommy Hilfinger commercial that looked like a scene from a bad Wes Anderson film. Hearing the “Holiday” chorus every 12 seconds made for a tremendously annoying Christmas season.
However, it was great to see both bands have a sense of humor about “whoring their music” out to commercials. They both had great 2010s, in which The Black Keys finally gained mainstream recognition and Vampire Weekend thwarted a sophomore slump.
But I think Colbert is onto something in having bands fight each other with crowbars, bats, nunckucks, and chains for Grammy votes. It seems a less fickle, more noble way than how they decide Grammy winners nowadays: by teenagers’ opinions.
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|MeTunes – Grammy Vote – Dan Auerbach, Patrick Carney & Ezra Koenig|