Here is a fantastic example of what I feel is a great strategy by a brand interacting with music. It's not surprising this move comes from VW, whose TV spots have always used music as a focused element of the advertising message. VW has apparently signed a deal with noted alternative band Wilco to place not one, but 5-6 of the group's songs in upcoming TV spots for the brand.
From Wilco's web site:
"Why? This is a subject we've discussed internally many times over the years regarding movies, TV shows and even the odd advertisement. With the commercial radio airplay route getting more difficult for many bands (including Wilco); we see this as another way to get the music out there. As with most of the above (with the debatable exception of radio) the band gets paid for this. And we feel okay about VWs. Several of us even drive them."
Kudos to the band and to their management for taking a channel agnostic approach to getting their music distributed in unique ways - and recognizing the bottom line impact of music licensing. As this is a band with so-called "indie cred," I would hope this would open the eyes of holdout labels, artists, and managers who decry the need to license in this manner to brands or be involved with brands at all.