A couple of days ago I was watching TV and during a commercial break saw this new iPod ad:
The tune struck me right away as I was sure to have heard somewhere. I couldn’t quite put my finger on where and when – then it hit me. That song “Bruises” was written by Chairlift, a band I saw in Montreal back in July playing a small venue called the ZooBizarre, opening for the experimental alternative pop artist Ariel Pink.
More importantly, the lead singer and keyboard guru of Chairlift is Caroline Polacheck (!) a friend I met back a couple of years ago when I was living in Brussels. A very talented artist she is, well versed in many creative domains. I made her acquaintance as she came to record some vocals during a session with some of my good Belgium friends. Anyways, needless to say I was set aback hearing that song play for an iPod commercial airing at least 5 times per hour on the biggest national french television channel.
I wrote to her asking a couple of questions concerning the experience:
C: Apple found us! someone at apple bought our Evident Utensil 7″ single, and contacted Kanine requesting more from us. They sent them our yet-unreleased album, and then later Apple made an offer.
GD: Are you happy with the licensing terms?
C: Yes, but the promotion is the biggest payoff.
GD: How did Apple approach you?
C: Through Kanine Records.
GD: Are you rich??? (hehehe)
C: No, but very busy. Getting the exposure allows us to take on more ambitious tours with confidence, and gives us the opportunity to work with artists, filmmakers, designers, photographers, stylists, sound engineers, booking, press and publishing agents, etc. to really build a creative team. That’s really my favorite aspect of what the ipod ad changed for us: having a team of great people whose work we love and who we love working with. Many of these people are friends of ours, and we’re excited to use these new opportunities for collaborations.
GD: Was this unexpected actually? did you guys flip when you heard the good news?
C: YES, and YES.
GD: Are you now working on chairlift full-time?
C: No, still working a few jobs on the side
GD: Has this new opportunity made that possible in the short/middle term future?
C: Only temporarily. We could live off the money we’re making, but it’ll run out once the album cycle is over, so it’s better to save it and keep working so that we can spend it on the next album and our living expenses during that time. When we’re on the road we live entirely off Chairlift. It’s important to save for the breaks between tours.
Apple sure is taking an interesting approach to advertise their products, and I must say it’s a very welcome one. It’s not the first time they license songs from underground indie artists catapulting them on TV screens with big-budget commercials.
Naim Yael witnessed her overnight success in July with her song “New Soul” launching the MacBook Air. The former Broken Social Scene singer Feist saw her sales skyrocket when her single “1,2,3,4″ was featured for another iPod nano commercial last year. For the iPod Touch ad, Apple executives spotted a home-made commercial on youtube with the song “Music is My Hot, Hot Sex” by a Brazilian band CSS and used it. And now Chairlift with “Bruises”.
So who’s next? Maybe you are.