This was originally posted on Billboard last week. We thought the content was so interesting, we asked to share it here, too.


With over 111 million viewers expected to watch the Big Game this Sunday and over $4 million spent on a 30-second spot, the Big Game is as much a culmination for advertisers as it is for the NFL. With the world’s most recognizable brands vying for attention, it’s a chance for agency creatives to showcase their very best work. Given the value brands gain from their use of music, the Big Game offers the largest stage to leverage the power of music to create intrigue and discussion for a brand after the whistle has blown.

Two hopeful reactions for any marketer: “That commercial was amazing,” and “That music was incredible. What was that song?” It’s a chance to set the social mediasphere ablaze with inquiries about songs, artists, and “where can I find that?!”  The advertisers that win in this game are the ones that know the type of music that best represents their brand, and that can create value beyond their commercials.

What interests me about the music choices in the Big Game is the correlation to Grammy winners announced one week prior. The Grammys and the Big Game are not just mega events close in airdate, there is a symbiotic relationship between Grammy winners, the Big Game halftime show, and music selected for commercials during the game. Is it a conspiracy or can we find a natural pattern? By analyzing the use of music in 2013’s Big Game ads, we can develop some pretty good predictions about the role music will play in 2014’s Big Game commercials. And, there are some interesting musical insights from what’s already been released this year.


The first is the rise of the independent. During Sunday’s Grammy Awards, triumphant independent artist Macklemore championed the indie music scene and called for its support. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ collaborative album, “The Heist”, is one of the most successful independent releases in the history of the music business (though it did get radio promotion and distribution from major labels). During his acceptance speech, Macklemore proclaimed, “We made this album without a record label, we made it independently and we appreciate all the support.” To boot, the American Association of Independent Labels reported that independent music won 50% of 2014 Grammys, an incredible feat for the flourishing indie music community.

What other trends did Eric find? Visit Billboard to read the rest of his insights. 

Eric Sheinkop is the CEO of Music Dealers & co-author of 'Hit Brands: How Music Builds Value for the World’s Smartest Brands'. Follow him on Twitter at @Esheinkop.