Friday, February 15, 2008

Korean Commercials: How Indie Artists Make Money

I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but commercials in Korea play really excellent music. Actually, I have to add (sheepishly) that sometimes they even play artists I've forgotten about but never stopped loving, so I rush to the nearest computer to upload their songs to my MP3 player (no iPods for me, I'm clearly living in the dark ages). It doesn't seem that any Koreans actually listen to these artists; they're, for the most part, happily stuck in their world of Korean pop music. I don't really blame them, either. Korean pop is catchy. However, one cannot live on K-Pop alone, and for this reason I'm really happy the commercials play such great tunes. I have compiled a list of the most recent artists heard in the background of a Korean commercial:

1. Last night I was in bed with the TV on for some background noise, when all of a sudden I hear the unmistably mournful voice of Cat Power. She's from England, and although I wasn't a huge fan of her previous stuff, her last album The Greatest was really impressive and enjoyable (mostly due to the fact that I think she went on antidepressants). Anyway, I'm not even sure what was being advertised since the TV was on in the next room, but I know for sure it was a commercial for something. Nicely done! Oh, the song played was the "The Greatest" (same name as the album).

2. Peter, Bjorn and John: So, there's this new show being advertised. I think it's kind of a big deal in North America right now, but I've never heard of it. Gossip Girl? Anyway, it is being advertised on OnStyle (one of the (mainly) English channels in Korea) and "Young Folks" is constantly playing in the background. It's awesome! Keeps me whistling all day. These guys are based in Stockholm. I think they're dreamy, and their music is pretty awesome, so I'm always happy to hear the Gossip Girl commercial.

3. Possibly the most random song of all, there is a commerical for something electronic and futuristic, and in the background "Les Os" by The Unicorns! If you haven't heard of The Unicorns, that's because they're a really random band from Montreal. In fact, I only ever heard of them by accident through my friend Zack. They were an awesome band, but they only put out one album and then broke up. But that one album is pretty stellar! Very rock-ish and electronic, which amusing lyrics ("We're The Unicorns/We're more than horses/We're The Unicorns and we're people, too"). When I saw that commercial I pretty much jumped out of my seat.

4. Kings of Convenience- A great Canadian band, mostly playing acoustic and really, really melodic (not to mention, beautiful) songs. They're voices are soft and their lyrics are really simplistic. I just love them. Their song "Homesick" is played on what I believe to be a car commerical. I think. Anyway, this is an example of one of the bands I had forgotten about since moving to Korea. I am forever indebted to the company that put out this commercial.

5. Ok, this may not be a new, up and coming band. They're, in fact, really really old. I just grew up listening to them because they're one of my Dad's favourite bands and when "Mr. Blue Sky" started playing on a commercial one day I freaked out. Major flashback! The band is of course ELO (Electric Light Orchestra), and they don't really do anything anymore but seriously, they were pretty awesome during their prime.

Has anyone else discovered any awesome music while commercial cruising?


Myles said...

Let's not give them too much credit for Peter, Bjorn and John - the song is actually used in the Gossip Girl premiere.

But they get total credit for the rest, I assure you. Especially ELO.

Anonymous said...

Do you know what is the Korean comercial with the ELO song?

Janinel said...

Thanks for the info Myles (is this the Myles I know?)! I'm so out of the loop as far as television goes.

Mr. Blue Sky was playing for a long time on OnStyle, and it was an advertisement for the channel itself.

Anonymous said...

Mom says, at least some of the music you're listening to is good.Just kidding...I know you have good taste in music, you learned at the feet of the masters!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Cat Power isn't from Enland. She's a solid American from the south.