Tuesday, February 24, 2009

One Of The Many Reasons American Car Companies Just Don't Get It ...

I've been meaning to post this for some time now ...

Back in January I saw a Lincoln commercial called "Lift Off" advertising the new Lincoln MKS. Lincoln is the luxury brand for Ford Motor Company.

Description of the commercial:

Now [CAT POWER'S Clan Marshall] put her imprint on David Bowie's "Space Oddity" for the new 2009 Lincoln MKS. The spot, which is titled "Lift Off" and finds a satisfied (and rich: the MKS is expected to be priced in the $38,000 range) Lincoln owner turning on the ignition and some very dramatic pistons with some lighting effects, was reportedly recorded in June and airs this month. "Boot Up. Lift Off."

The YouTube video you see here has 100's of comments such as this attached to it:

"when are they gonna have a full version?"

"does anybody know where i can get the full cover?"

The internet is littered with discussions on who sings this song and where can the song be downloaded.

When a song is featured in a commercial or movie, it is a HUGE draw. It reminds me of how I first heard of the band ColdPlay and the song "Clocks" ... it was featured in an obscure version of Peter Pan that came out a few years ago in a preview movie trailer. The internet was abuzz the next week asking what song it was. ColdPlay wasn't a really well known band then and the song wasn't on the Peter Pan soundtrack - but at least it could be located.

Ford is almost irresponsible for not getting the full version of this song [Cover of "Space Oddity" by Cat Power] and paying for it to be placed on iTunes. Why?

Because I would be shocked if they couldn't say to this band ... we'll split the revenue 50/50 with you that we receive from Apple over the downloads.

How much revenue would that be?

The song "New Soul" by Yael Naïm which was featured in an iPod commercial has seen over 720,000 downloads - the artist attributes nearly 100% of those downloads to the Apple commercial.

I believe that this song [A cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" by Cat Power] would be even bigger than that. That would be at least $200,000 in revenue for Ford. $200,000 less they would need in bailout money. It's almost like they don't think in terms of a thousand here or a thousand there. The American car companies spend so much foolishly that they only block expeditures AND savings into the billions.


Anonymous said...

With covers it is a bit more complicated than an artists original work. Most songs are license to be covered for a mechanical royalty of 8.5 cents (depending on length of the song) and volume you sell. If Space Oddity is covered under this type of fee then roughly 10% of each sale would go to David Bowie not Cat Power or Ford. Then there is the cut for Apple as well and the song starts to become less lucrative. The other issue is if the song isn't covered by the standard license then you have to come to some sort of agreement with the artist on how much they went per unit sold. Unlike most musicians, David Bowie owns the rights to his work and it is likely he could command a higher price as the Bowie brand is worth a ton of money.

This doesn't even take into account the agreement of who owns the rights to distribute the song. Ford may just have the rights to use it in a commercial while Cat Power retains the rights for future release.

While all in all there is certainly a market to sell the song to, it doesn't mean that it is Ford that is the hold up. And the reality is that covers aren't as lucrative as original songs.

Just my 2c.

FYT said...

Well a lot of people cover this song.

Apple takes 24¢ ... the average music distribution (TW, EMI, Sony/BMG) takes 60¢ ... the remaining 15¢ is overhead / credit card processing.

Thank you for your valuable input.