November 1, 2000
One thing that I've noticed, which may be old news to you, is that many TV advertisements use background music that has been specially created to mimic a soundscape already made popular by a commercial artist.
For example, an ad for T-Fal frying pans uses a dance soundtrack with a woman wailing the blues over top of it. And I thought, this sounds like Moby.
And there was another ad - for Special K breakfast cereal - that also had a dance beat in the background with a barely audible voice singing "I'm a star. I'm a star" over and over on top of it. And I thought, this sounds like a bad Fatboy Slim's Rockafeller Skank.
Now if I recognize a new anything three times in a given period, I call it a phenomenon. The clincher was a particular segment from an interview with the lead singer of Radiohead that I heard on the CBC. Thom Yorke was complaining how his songs have been exploited as numerous car companies and the like have been using Radiohead-ish sounds - tweaked just enough to get out of asking permission and paying royalties - in numerous television commercials. His songs are very personal to him and so to him such acts are reprehensible.
As are many other acts of commercialism. In fact, I understand that the interview with the CBC came with the condition that Yorke would be interviewed by the author of No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies by Naomi Klein.