Skip to content

Music and soaps

by Seb Chan on March 11th, 2007

I’m sitting at the dinner table writing up some reviews with headphones on. My wife is sitting on the couch watching Grey’s Anatomy.

Up wafts TV On The Radio’s ‘Playhouses’ which is obviously providing the backing to a particular scene. Except it goes for more than the usual 5 seconds. I get up to see what is going on – “why is this song keeping on going?” I think to myself. It has been 30 seconds now. And still it goes on. And the scenes change.

Then I realise my mistake.

No, music isn’t being used to underscore a ‘point’ in the narrative in the way has been used for decades. No, music isn’t being used to tweak emotions. It is simply being included to ‘shift more units’ and to ‘break bands to core audiences’ in the era of downloads.

Silly me. How naive of me.

I’m pretty sure the viewer is not supposed to realise that they are being ‘marketed’ to.

From → Sights, Sounds

4 Comments
  1. (I thought you were going to say the music was in your headphones – like whoah, dude!)

    Not that I ever watched it, but my understanding is that the OC was the OG or the epitome of that approach ie soundtrack as cross-promotion. Of course feature film ‘soundtrack’ albums have also been doing this for years. ‘Music inspired by’ cynical marketing.

    Btw, did you see Coldplay on Extras last week? A great example of multilayered cynicism. Fuck I hate Coldplay.

  2. seb permalink

    The thing with the OC was at least the songs coincided with the scenes – as you would expect them to.

    The weird thing was the extension of the song beyond the scene. They must have paid extra for that.

  3. If only they did it for more awesome bands like TVOTR.

  4. Lyndon permalink

    I think the dude who played Seth Cohen on the OC is an indie fan boy in real life, so they just let him call the shots (i’m making this up a bit, but i did get that impression). As an aside, the wife and I always loved to yell out “Mc.Gee” whenever we saw his directoral credit flash up at the start of that show. Hahaha…silly Hollywood fucks.

    BTW – never watched Grey’s Anatomy, but I noticed that the Scottish whingers Snow Patrol got a big ride from that show. Seems to be de riguer these days for the kind of cross-marketing you mentioned Seb. Weren’t Snow Patrol a Belle & Sebastian spin off band? Or have I had to many Neurofen’s to dull the pain at work?

    A good use of an entire song was at the end of Six Feet Under’s final ever episode, it was Sia’s “Breathe” and was a smart choice of music for a great show’s finale.

Leave a Reply

Note: XHTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS