Angela McCluskey Finds Homes for Her Music in TV Ads, Cable Shows and MP3 Players – Why I Listen to Her Song, “Message,” Non-Stop

(Want to hear the song first? Scroll toward the end of this posting.)

So I walk into Banana Republic and I’m fascinated by something. It’s not the clothes or the freakishly stylish sales attendants…it’s the sophisticated in-store music. Apparently, Banana Republic wants to accessorize my eardrums.

That’s the idea. In fact, the retailer employs music licensing and branding firm Rock River to provide “branded music strategies.” Why? By selecting the right tunes for its stores, Banana Republic helps influence consumers to buy expensive shirts (I bought two.).

Taking Artistic License
Scottish singer Angela McCluskey knows the value of music licensing. As part of the group, Telepopmusik, she sang the Grammy-nominated song “Breathe,” which was featured in a 2003 TV ad for the Mitsubishi Outlander.

In a 2004 interview with National Public Radio, McCluskey said she loved being associated with the car commercial. “If they associate it, then they could buy the album… Car commercials are the only way anybody’s ever going to hear your music anymore,” she said.

This year, she sang “I’m Not the Girl” for a TV ad featuring the Schick Quattro TrimStyle For Women Razor. See the bizarre video: (hint – look for the computer-animated topiaries).

Recently, McCluskey performed on the Season Six trailer soundtrack for the TV show, “Entourage.”

In 2008, she sang “Dream,” the soundtrack to a TV ad narrated by Salma Hayek for a Pampers UNICEF campaign:

Indie Evolves
Don’t assume that McCluskey is a lightweight because her music is attractive for commercial use. Just the opposite. Music branding companies such as Rock River, DMX, Inc., Shout It Out Loud Music and Elias Arts offer their clients the best musicians out there, including indies.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”false” link=”term=angela+mccluskey&iid=2003659″ src=”5/e/4/0/FilmAid_Internationals_2nd_b985.jpg?adImageId=7931214&imageId=2003659″ width=”234″ height=”335″ /](Musicians James Allen and Angela McClusky attend the 2008 FilmAid International Power of Film Gala in New York City.)

Francis Garcia, creative director and founder of Shout It Out Loud Music (, a New York City-based advertising, TV and film music company that has composed original scores and licensed music for Audi, Cadillac, Toyota, Ford, Walmart, McDonald’s, Discovery Channel, Nicktoons, Fuse and Fox Searchlight, recently shared the following with Eleven’s Song Reviews:

“Record labels have become more reliant on music licensing as a revenue stream as CD sales have dramatically diminished. Labels and publishers have become savvier at getting their music into the hands of advertising agencies.

“Concurrently, there’s been a stylistic paradigm shift that’s forged the way for recording artists, as advertisers have moved away from ‘jingles’ and toward album music. The indie music community has even become less denouncing of artists that choose to have their music licensed by a major brand. These factors have made the landscape of music business vastly different than what it was 10 years ago.”

To her credit, McCluskey is a Lilith Fair alum and has worked with R.E.M., Dr. John and Cyndi Lauper. She has also recorded several albums with the Wild Colonials, Telepopmusik and Tryptich and has released her own solo projects.

Message in a Bottle?
McCluskey’s song “Message,” from the album, “You Could Start a Fight in an Empty House,” (released Nov. 23, 2009, on Bernadette) is receiving a lot of attention from my MP3 player these days.

Listen to the song here (with Duke Bojadziev, similar version to the album)

Grooving to this electronic music track, I imagine myself speeding in a Porsche Cayman at 2 a.m., heading to an epic party hosted by “Brangelina.” McCluskey’s vocals, world-wise and mysterious, transport me to such places.

At the same time, “Message” is ripe for a slick marketing campaign. I can see the song backing a FedEx commercial. How about an Absolut Vodka ad (hence my message-in-a-bottle reference)?

What are your thoughts about the commercial use of indie music?

Sources:,,, and

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