Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


CU Denver study shows product placement, branding growing in popular music


'Advertainment' on the rise

As branding and advertising creep into almost every facet of life, a new study from the University of Colorado Denver shows it's now making substantial inroads into popular music.

The study examined in detail the yearly top 30 Billboard songs from 1960 to 2013 - a total of 1,583 - and found a steep increase in `advertainment' or the use of product placement, branding and name dropping among the most popular music in the nation.

In 2006 alone, 20 of the top 30 songs, or two out of three, included at least one reference to a person, place or product, the study said.

"As a professor of music business and a fan I recognized that this was happening. Now, as a researcher, I have the data to prove it," said study author Storm Gloor, associate professor of music business at CU Denver's College of Arts & Media. "I don't necessarily lament it or abhor it but I was surprised by the clarity of the trend."

Gloor found a total of 1,544 product references in the five decades of songs he analyzed with more than half occurring between 2000 and 2010. Automobiles were favorites with Mercedes-Benz, Bentley, Corvette, Cadillac and Chevrolet among the most popular products mentioned.

The study also showed a direct link between product placement and brand awareness. For example, Gloor said that after the 2002 Busta Rhymes hit single `Pass the Courvoisier,' sales of the cognac jumped 10 to 20 percent that year. Run DMC's song `My Adidas,' Gloor said, had a similar impact on those sneakers.

Place names also increased dramatically since 1960. Aside from famous seaside towns mentioned in hits like the Beach Boys' `Surfin' USA,' there were few locations mentioned in the 1960s and 70s. That grew steadily in the 80s and 90s. In 2006, some 9 percent of Billboard's top songs referenced specific place names.

Another trend is the artist dropping their own name. There was only one name reference in 1964, four in 1974, one in 1984, 39 in 1994 and 130 in 2004. One potential reason for this is that many radio deejays no longer identify the songs or artists they play, so singers must do it themselves, Gloor said.

According to Gloor, all this is also happening due to seismic changes in the music industry.

"In today's music business, artists and their stakeholders have had to take non-traditional approaches in navigating the marketplace," he said. "It has become increasingly important to emphasize marketing the artist as a brand rather than focusing so much on the sale of recordings."

The study noted that singer CeeLo Green had revenues of over $20 million in 2011 with the smallest amount of that coming from music sales. The rest were derived from marketing and branding opportunities.

"Artist and music business mogul Jay-Z has been specifically pointed out as someone who uses mentions of brand names `as a way of marking his authenticity as a self-made businessman,''' the study said.

Gloor said that referring to products, places and people might cause fans to relate to the music and keep listening rather than clicking past.

Another finding showed that pop songs have become much longer since the 1960s and 70s when Top 40 radio stations favored shorter songs. The average number of words in a song from 1960 was 185, while in 2010 it was 489 or a 164 percent increase.

The increased length appeals to businesses like Pandora, a free Internet music provider, which can lower their licensing fees by playing longer songs during a consumer's listening time, since they pay a per-song fee, Gloor said.

"Many people thought music was the last bastion free of marketing but that train has left the station. Many musicians these days make less money from their recorded work so they must become marketing entities since the music doesn't entirely pay the bills," Gloor said. "People could get sick of it and there could be a backlash but for now this is the new reality."


The study was published last month in the Journal of the Music & Entertainment Industry Education Association. It can be found here.

Media Contact

David Kelly


David Kelly | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: Advertising Branding music business music industry popular music

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht High Number of Science Enthusiasts in Switzerland
05.02.2018 | Universität Zürich

nachricht Between filter bubbles, uneven visibility and transnationality
06.12.2017 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Physicists made crystal lattice from polaritons

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

20.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Thawing permafrost produces more methane than expected

20.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>