It is just a matter of time. It could be months, maybe a year, but eventually an original tune, recorded and created specifically for an ad, will be the best-selling song in the United States.






Josh Rabinowitz is senior VP/director of music at ad agency Grey Worldwide.






It is just a matter of time. It could be months, maybe a year, but eventually an original tune, recorded and created specifically for an ad, will be the best-selling song in the United States.

Said song will be heard on a prime-time TV spot bolstered by a heavy media buy. The hook of this tune will lodge itself in the auditory and cognitive regions of our beings, where it will set up permanent residence.

Unlike the classic jingles of yesteryear, this tune will be known as the "Brand X" song (maybe it will be Apple Computer or Gap or Panasonic), but it will not mention the brand, nor the product. And unlike "Pink Moon" by Nick Drake, used memorably in a Volkswagen spot; or "Days Gone By" by Dirty Vegas, used by Mitsubishi; or "Hey Mama" by Black Eyed Peas, used by iPod, this tune (and others to follow) will be owned, not rented, by the brand.

Additionally, the song will be available as a paid download from the brand's Web site, as prompted during the spot.

Some of the best directors today produce only very good commercials. What is to stop a top band from producing only very good "jingles" -- but without the traditional middleman, the record industry?

As we all take for granted, advertising is the underwriter for much popular culture. Our attention to TV, movies, radio, print and, increasingly, the Internet, is paid for by advertisers.

But advertising's existence on TV is being challenged. Consumers have the power to filter out ads with TiVo and other time-shifting devices. Thus, the onus is on the advertiser to be more entertaining, more meaningful, more connected, mo' better for the discerning viewer.

The licensing of music is a nice fix for an industry that is trying to prevent people from avoiding its messages. But the ad industry needs to put forth better ideas and better, new "brand ownable" music, to keep people's attention. That is the challenge; that is the mission.

To achieve that mission, brands need to attain as much ownership of a song as possible. Why rent cachet when you can own it?

It seems to me the best-case scenario is to create a great original song or track for an ad as a work for hire (which is the standard practice anyway), but with the brand -- not a label -- retaining ownership.

For artists and writers, it is a win-win to affiliate themselves with brands as a means of distribution. Besides broadcast advertising, there are myriad ways to get their music to people through the cross-promotional and integrated marketing expertise of these brands.

The labels have taken a shine to TV as one of the main ways for music to reach people. The music industry these days seems to be employing more and more branding, marketing and new-media people. These are people who do not talk about music as music, but music as content.

At the same time, as a director of music at a large ad agency, I see a migration of music-focused music industry people to my doorstep, where they hope to make "real" music, because the record companies do not seem to be doing so-or at least, that is what these music people tell me.

All these forces point to great songs coming out of brands. But it must be about the concept first, and not the music. Yes, a song can be the seed for an idea, but more times than not, the song needs to enhance an idea-just as original music can enhance a film soundtrack.

When it is done correctly, it provides a resonance that is compelling, irrefutable and persuasive all at once.

That is what artists need to know; that is what brands need to remember.

And that is how a jingle can replace the single.