Our Country Tis Of Thee

The Wall Street Journal reports on the potetnial downside for recording artists who license their songs to commercial enterprises prior to official release of their music on disc.

John Mellencamp’s 21st studio album, “Freedom’s Road,” isn’t due out until next month. But his record label is already worrying that one song, “Our Country,” may be suffering from overexposure (thanks to the Chevy Silverado ad that uses the song as its soundtrack).
Executives at Mr. Mellencamp’s label, Universal Republic Records, worry that with the ad saturating television broadcasts for nearly six months before the release of the new album, some fans could sour on the song.
“Exposure is one of the most valuable assets there is these days,” says Universal Republic President Monte Lipman. “But when you hear the song in the context of a commercial, it doesn’t do it justice.”

The Indiana singer-songwriter’s last studio album, 2003’s “Trouble No More,” sold just 180,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That is a far cry from his two biggest hits, “American Fool” and “Scarecrow,” both of which have shipped more than five million copies, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
Universal Republic has sold 39,000 digital downloads of “Our Country” via the iTunes Music Store and other outlets, according to SoundScan.



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.