2019 Year-End Charts

Artists, Sony Face Forward for Super Bowl 2018 Commercial Placement

Per second of music, commercial placement during the Super Bowl is the most lucrative sale a publisher will make all year, and for Sunday's (Feb. 4) game Sony/ATV leads the pack with 17 sync licenses in a marketing cycle notable for the number of artists with screen time. Aussie rapper Iggy Azalea and Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry are among those appearing in ads for Monster, while bandmate Steven Tyler dreams on in a Kia commercial and Amazon casts Rebel Wilson and Cardi B in a story arc around Alexa losing her voice.
“It’s an interesting trend this year to see so many spots that actually feature artists in the commercials,” said Tom Eaton, SVP of music for advertising at the second-placed Universal Music Publishing Group, which he said “will surpass last year’s total” of seven. BMG touted eight in hand as publishers worked the phones through the weekend to close last minute deals.  Warner/Chappell projected it will exceed 2017’s four. Kobalt is estimated to have three or fewer (reporting a total of six “including promos,” which command significantly lower rates than brand advertising – sometimes up to 75 percent less).

Music licenses for Super Bowl spots are reliably in the high six figures, with some premium tracks commanding more than $1 million, and there is not much difference in pricing between a snippet and the background music to a 90-second epic, the key factors being the length of time the commercial can air and the global territories in which it plays. 

Sony/ATV outperformed its 2017 tally of 10, for what president and global chief marketing officer Brian Monaco said is a 25 percent increase in Super Bowl revenue for his company. “There’s a premium that the advertisers pay to use these songs on this platform, unless it’s a breaking artist and everyone feels this is the biggest platform of the year, let’s all come together and decide we want to do this,” said Monaco, who attributed the surge to the iconic nature of the songs chosen as well as the volume.

“Sony/ATV probably has more masters this year as well, so that helps with the overall value,” whether it’s the original or an artist re-record. “For ‘I Don’t Wanna Wait’ on the Natural Light commercial, we represent Paula Cole’s publishing, but she also did the re-record on that.” 

Other iconic placements Monaco landed in the big game include Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better,” the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” and Keith Sweat’s “Nobody,” all for the Amazon Echo “Alexa” spots. A centerpiece of Sony/ATV offerings will be Skylar Grey’s cover of the Ben E. King classic “Stand by Me” for Budweiser, which veered from its tradition of showcasing its Clydesdale horses in favor of a disaster relief message that sees them in a time of need foregoing beer in favor of water that they bottle and  send to needy regions. “Skylar’s voice sounds really wonderful and I think we’re going to see this starting to stream after the commercial airs,” said Monaco, who also predicts fresh demand for the “fast version” of Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” used for Chrysler RAM’s “Icelandic Vikings” spot.

Eaton and UMPG have high-profile positioning with the new song “Savior” by Iggy Azalea (feat. Quavo) following its Friday Spotify premiere with a mass audience showcase in the Monster audio ads. “It’s such an incredible opportunity to launch a song in the Super Bowl, with over 110 million people watching,” Eaton said. “The audience for the Super Bowl is so large, and comprised of such a variety of people, young and old, the music really is the universal language that triggers emotion in people.” Sony/ATV also has part of the Azalea song, and the two companies also share rights to Sweat’s “Nobody.” In Sony’s column, the new Michelob Ultra anthem “I Like Beer” was written Tom T. Hall and re-recorded for the occasion by Jon Pardi, who called the chance to be part of a Super Bowl spot among his “bucket list items.” 

“We found the demand split between classics and newer artists,” said BMG’s Alex Flores, SVP marketing for commercials, film and television, citing Kesha’s “Boogie Feet” as the modern backing to Pepsi’s trip down Super Bowl memory lane. On the old school front, “we have Kraft using Broncho’s ‘Class Historian’ in a spot called ‘Invitation’ that asks people to submit family photos that may be aired during the second half of the game. It was a very creative use,” Flores said. BMG also administered Steven Tyler's “Dream On” for Kia. “We had it in the Super Bowl two years ago. It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” Flores added. Classics aside, Monaco noted more urban and hip-hop this year. “With Iggy Azalea in a commercial, Big Sean, Cardi B, that’s a nice trend – new, urban hip-hop artists being used by Fortune 500 companies.”
Run the Jewels landed the highest-profile indie slot, with sync-darling “Legend Has It” driving it home for Lexus, courtesy of Alucard Publishing, Aniyah Nicole Publishing, Third Side Music obo Money Makes Me Dance and BMG among those representing the eight songwriters.

Thirty-second Super Bowl commercials cost an estimated $5 million this year (up from $4.5 million). This year, NBC for the first time offered six-second spots in an effort to draw in more entry-level advertisers. While at press time no publishers had placements at the kiddie table, Eaton lauded the move. “It was of interest to brands and potentially increased the volume of commercials shown during the game, so going forward it could be good for music.”

Super Bowl 52


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