The Sounds of CapitalismAdvertising, Music, and the Conquest of Culture

The Sounds of CapitalismAdvertising, Music, and the Conquest of Culture

Timothy D. Taylor

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226791159

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


From the early days of radio through the rise of television after World War II to the present, music has been used more and more often to sell goods and establish brand identities. And since at least the 1920s, songs originally written for commercials have become popular songs, and songs written for a popular audience have become irrevocably associated with specific brands and products. Today, musicians move flexibly between the music and advertising worlds, while the line between commercial messages and popular music has become increasingly blurred. This book is the story of this infectious part of our musical culture. It tracks the use of music in American advertising for nearly a century, from variety shows such as The Clicquot Club Eskimos to the rise of the jingle, the postwar rise in consumerism and the more complete fusion of popular music and consumption in the 1980s and after. The author contends that today there is no longer a meaningful distinction to be made between music in advertising and advertising music. To make his case, he draws on rare archival materials, the extensive trade press, and hours of interviews with musicians ranging from Barry Manilow to unknown but unforgettable jingle singers.