Ever since I got my first iPod, I have shunned the radio. This was fine at first because I had all the music that I could possibly want and I had bands that I followed. Quickly, I fell behind. New artists came out, I would hear people talking about new songs, and I had no idea what they were talking about. It became a struggle. I could either listen to the insular world that my iPod provided or hear new (though not necessarily good or great) songs. So, I did. I retreated. And eventually The Beatles topped all my playlists. However, as much as I love The Beatles, even they grew stale. And so did much else in my library. I wanted to hear new bands and songs, but I could no longer listen to the radio. There's too much crap and too many commercials. Surprisingly, it would be advertisements and ad execs that came to my rescue.
The first song I remember hearing on a commercial and then seeking out was Feist's "1234".
Of course Apple has long had good songs in their iPod commercials. Another commercial that inspired me to seek out her music is Miss Li's "Bourgeois Shangri-La". (Yes, these are both for different models of Nanos.)
But soon other companies began to put in great songs in their commercials. Recently, my friend Anna turned me on to The Heavy and she (and most likely you, as well) first heard them in this Kia ad. (By the way, their album absolutely rocks.)
Nike, not to be outdone, has also introduced me to a great song and band with The Hours "Ali In The Jungle".
Radio has been supplanted by ads. At least for me. This is great for both the artists and the companies. Whenever I see one of these ads, I stop and pay attention. Good music helps to sell products. The ads also benefit a short attention span. The intro for "Ali in the Jungle" is long and might lose me if I just heard it on the radio. However, Nike's minute long ad ropes me into the song and gets me hooked.
I'm not saying all ads are good. In fact, some of the songs featured are pretty awful. For the most part, the cream seems to rise to the top. Let's hope it stays this way. Otherwise, if crappy songs become the norm, I will soon find myself with another stagnant collection of music. And I don't want that.