From Nashville Scene:
A couple decades ago, no self-conscious, authenticity-flaunting Gen X alt-rocker would’ve enthusiastically described a scene like the one you’re about to read. Wesley Schultz, on the other hand, has no problem pinpointing the fairly recent night that he first heard his band’s song “Ho Hey” used in a Bing commercial.
“We were eating dinner at a friend’s house and washing some dishes after we were finished,” Schultz says with the weary amiability of a guy swept up in his first whirlwind schedule of press and performances. “We were home from tour. We hadn’t watched much TV on tour. So that was the first time, and it was really kind of surreal and funny. Kind of made me laugh, to be standing there and have that music being played.”
Schultz is the lead singer and guitarist for the rapidly rising indie folk-rock act The Lumineers. Their self-titled debut album came out on Nashville’s Dualtone Records in early April. And in much the same way that an iPod Nano ad did wonders for Feist and her swinging little pop ditty “1234,” Schultz and his bandmates Jeremiah Fraites and Neyla Pekarek’s decision to license their song for a 30-second spot promoting the search engine is no doubt one reason that it currently sits at No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Songs chart.
The Lumineers are of a generation of music-makers and listeners for whom the explicitly commercial use of a track doesn’t mean the song can’t also be experienced as a genuinely heartfelt composition. There are exceptions — like the duo Beach House refusing a licensing request from Volkswagen, who then used a sound-alike song in their ad — but generally speaking, the well-below-40 set is open to as many possible avenues of experiencing music as anyone who’s yet faced the decisive reign and subsequently fading influence of the full-length album. Hand-wringing over keeping artistry and accessibility completely separate from sustainability and profitability seems almost passé. And it just so happens that on the other side of the equation, a lot of companies crave an association with indie-sounding music and its connotations of youthful creativity.
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