'Hip-hop artists are being recognised by major brands': Inside Sony/ATV's huge Super Bowl syncs

'Hip-hop artists are being recognised by major brands': Inside Sony/ATV's huge Super Bowl syncs

The Super Bowl provides a huge platform for music as publishers partner with marketers to find the right song for the huge brands taking out big money commercials during the game. Remember Chrysler’s 2011 spot for Super Bowl XLV featuring Eminem’s Lose Yourself, or last year’s Ford commercial using Nina’s Simone’s I Wish I Knew How It Feel To Be Free, which subsequently enjoyed a huge streaming spike?

As well as the Super Bowl LII Halftime Show starring Justin Timberlake, music stars are featuring in the commercials, notably Cardi B in the already much talked about Amazon Alexa advert (Gordon Ramsay, Anthony Hopkins and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos also put in an appearance).

The licensing fees for use of a song are comfortably six figures in dollars and could go up to $750,000 (£531,000). The commercials used to be revealed during the game but now brands are building exposure ahead of the Super Bowl itself by unveiling them online. 

“The game has changed a lot, where advertisers and brands are also now showing their commercials prior to the actual Super Bowl to leverage the amount of money they have spent and to get more analytics on how things are working and how people are reacting to it,” Brian Monaco, president, global chief marketing officer, Sony/ATV, told Music Week.

Of course, Sony/ATV has played a key role in the 2018 line-up of Super Bowl commercial, and more than half of the songs licensed by Sony/ATV this year are 100% controlled by the company. Here, Monaco talks Music Week through some of the biggest syncs….

Amazon Alexa – Alexa Loses Her Voice

“It’s a great spot. We have three songs in the commercial and a fourth one that’s going to be added for a second commercial that will air later in the game [The Jackson 5 - I Want You Back], so it’s a really good one for us. Bodak Yellow is ours, we represent Cardi B; we also have the Keith Sweat song Nobody in there; and then we have the tag line ‘Nobody does it better’, where we have both the master and publishing on the Carly Simon song. We have a great relationship with Amazon, and we’ve worked on a lot of deals with them over the last year. It’s nice to see that urban and hip-hop artists are being recognised by major brands, and being put in commercials – you wouldn’t have seen that a few years ago, so that’s really exciting.”

Monster Products – You Deserve Better

“It’s a new song that Iggy’s going to release on that commercial for the headphone company, and she’s also in the commercial. Iggy sent me the song [Savior] and we worked through it, and that one literally got licensed on Thursday when we finally agreed on the terms. She has been away, she’s taking her time recording her next album, so it’s nice to see a brand like Monster take a chance and put her in the commercial, and [for her to] release a new song with it. You can’t ask for a better platform to release a new song.” 

Budweiser – Stand By You

“I worked on that deal, that’s one of our songs [Stand By Me, written by Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller], the master was done by Skylar Grey. It’s a wonderful commercial, she did a wonderful job of putting her own take on that song, and I think it’s going to become a big streaming hit. She shot a video for it and it will come out shortly after the Super Bowl. It’s just a really nice version, her voice is so wonderful, and the tone of her voice really fits with the creative of the commercial.”

Michelob Ultra – I Like Beer

“That’s one of our copyrights written by Tom T Hall. That’s something we worked on early on, we had a bunch of different people do demos for it, and everyone chose the Jon Pardi one. That’s an exciting one for Jon, who’s currently a breaking country artist. The song is from 1975, it’s like on old-time country song. I thought it was really smart of Michelob to kind of put a new spin on it with Jon.”

Amazon Prime – Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan

Sony/ATV represents other songs used during the Super Bowl commercials, including spots from brands including Natural Light and Quicken Loans. Bob Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower is covered by Ed Sheeran (also signed to Sony/ATV) and rapper Devlin for the trailer to new TV series Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, set to launch on Amazon Prime in May.

Here are Sony/ATV’s Super Bowl 52 commercial highlights in full:

Amazon:
– Bodak Yellow (songwriters: Cardi B, Jordan Thorpe/ recording artist: Cardi B)
– Nobody (Fitzgerald Scott/Keith Sweat)
– Nobody Does It Better (Marvin Hamlisch, Carole Bayer Sager/Carly Simon)
– I Want You Back (Berry Gordy, Alphonso Mizell, Freddie Perren, Deke Richards/Jackson 5)      
Budweiser – Stand By Me (Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller/Skylar Grey)
Hyundai – Going The Distance (Bill Conti/Bill Conti)*
Michelob – I Like Beer (Tom T. Hall/Jon Pardi)
Monster – Savior (Iggy Azalea/Iggy Azaleafeat. Quavo)
Natural Light – I Don’t Want To Wait (Paula Cole/Paula Cole)*
Quicken Loans – Bounce Back (Kanye West/Big Sean)
RAM – We Will Rock You (Brian May/Queen)
Squarespace – Adventures In Success (Sting/Will Powers)
*Sony/ATV repped master as well

Sony/ATV’s Super Bowl 52 promo/trailers highlights:

Champions Season (pregame) – Outro (songwriter: Anthony Gonzalez/recording artist: M83)
HBO Westworld – Runaway (Jeff Bhasker, Emile Haynie, Terrence Thornton, Kanye West/Kanye West)
Olympics On NBC – Girl On Fire (Jeff Bhasker, Alicia Keys, Salaam Remi/Alicia Keys)
Olympics On NBC – The Boss (Charles Bobbit, James Brown, Fred Wesley/James Brown)
Skyscraper – I Won’t Back Down (Jeff Lynne/Tom Petty)
The Profit – Money Maker (Pharrell Williams/Ludacris feat. Pharrell)
World Of Dance – Dance (Eric Frederic/DNCE)

(Research by Sarah Thomas)

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