Hi, I’m A Copywriter And An A&R Guy…Your Band Sounds Great

Most of the ad people visiting Austin for SXSW have made their way back to New York City, L.A. and every other corner of Adlandia. But not all. Some are staying behind, as I used to do, for SXSW’s Film and Music Conferences.

Brent Grulke, creative director at SXSW, told Fortune, that big companies have taken on a larger, more direct role in the music industry. “What really kind of blows my mind is how enormous corporations still place tremendous value in music.” Many massive companies, aching to stay relevant, send employees to SXSW Music, he says.

Of course, finding new artists to appear in TV commercials is standard operating procedure. For example:

Lowe’s is conveying a brand attribute with its choice of music bed in the spot above. The song, “Colors,” is by April Smith and the Great Picture Show, a band that has yet to sign with a label.

Smith loves the exposure her band is receiving from the Lowe’s commercial. “These music supervisors and these creative people at ad agencies, they’re the new A&R people right now,” Smith said.

Naturally, there’s so much more (than TV) a brand can do for bands. Brands can bankroll a band, put them in a studio, in a tour bus, you name it. It’s one part celebrity endorsement, another part content marketing. It’s also fun and a real contribution to the culture, versus another canned message no one wants.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.