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Music As Product Placement

By Julene McCoy in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 8, 2005 5:51PM

Chicagoist has gotten out of bed on the jaded and cynical side this morning, so bear with us. We were perusing the internets, as we do every morning, and came across this article in the Sun Times. And we thought to ourselves – what a kick ass job! How does one get to become a music supervisor on a hit show like The O.C.? Daydreams previously fantasized here at Chicagoist.

As we read about Ms. Patsavas’ journey from Glen Ellyn to Hollywood, we decided to gather more info about this hometown girl. She has quite the extensive list of credits and has been mouthing off to the world about her super-fantastic job just in time for the release of The O.C.’s 5th volume of music from the series.

Big corporation gets acclaim for helping unknown bands reach a wider audience. Big corporation wants to capitalize on that acclaim. Big corporation lets everyone and their dog interview their music supervisor who has been instrumental in picking the songs played as background on their television show. Big corporation gets the little consumers to buy even more of their soundtrack. Perfection.

We get that this is America and that we live in a capitalistic society. We also understand the power of music to convey a character so much more completely, i.e. Claire driving away in the Six Feet Under finale to Sia’s “Breathe Me”. Love it. We’ve also forced soundtracks down people’s throats, i.e. Neil Young’s Deadman . But we believe what has us so angered by this is that marketing is all that there is to this. It’s not really about providing a place to find new, great music. It’s about promotion and moving more units.

We understand that being picked for a television show is a great way for bands to get noticed, reach a broader audience than ever before, and make some green, but we also understand that it’s just product placement that won’t be TiVo’d away. And we don’t want to believe that our favorite bands are just clamoring for airtime like Coca-Cola so that they can become richer corporations. We want music to mean more than that. Then again, maybe, we’re just feeling old and nostalgic for the good ol’ days before image was king.