For an emerging artist, netting a commercial can be a fantastic platform. So much so that it's controversially been suggested that they pay to appear in an ad rather than the other way round. But, ultimately, it's a relationship that cuts both ways - a catchy track can do wonders for recall and brand credibility.
The "up and coming" top ten is dominated by so-called "chillout artists", studio whizz kids such as Royksopp and Kinobe, who create ambient mood music. "It's a prevalent style of music," Andy Gulliman, a producer at Bartle Bogle Hegarty, says. "It's also sympathetic to commercials."
"There's usually a distinctive riff or hookline that stands out," Dan Dunbar of SoundLounge, the music agency, adds. "It has a pace and tempo that's easy to cut to film."
What's more, most of these artists are prepared to, and more than capable of, editing their tracks for commercials themselves. Writing music for a commercial, the composer Peter Lawlor says, "is like creating a precis of a song. But it still needs to feel coherent - that's the real challenge." If you have the creators on the case, that challenge is more likely to be met.
Vodafone's use of The Dandy Warhols' Bohemian Like You was the exception to the rule but, generally, music in commercials is less song-based than it used to be. Chill-out artists, contemporary classical composers and people with film score experience tend to be favoured because they can create appropriate moods efficiently. They're also more versatile than songs with upfront lyrics, which need to be spot on to work. No matter how catchy it is, you wouldn't want to use Can't Get You Out Of My Head for an Anadin commercial, now would you?
1. ROYKSOPP - At their best, Royksopp are more than capable of delivering the kind of haunting, mesmeric music you can't get out of your head, which made their track So Easy the perfect choice for BBH's launch of T-Mobile. A down-tempo electronic duo from the small city of Tromso in Norway made up of Svein Berge and Torbjorn Brundtland, it seems entirely fitting their 2001 debut album, Melody AM, was re-released and given fresh impetus by exposure through T-Mobile, as well as commercials for Lynx and HMV.
2. LEMON JELLY - Though the enigmatic Lemon Jelly have just one UK commercial to their collective name so far (for Motorola), founder member Nick Franglen had previously busied himself composing and arranging tracks for the likes of Sony PlayStation and Sega, as well as film and television soundtracks. A studio and keyboard wizard, who'd contributed to work by among others Hole and Primal Scream, Franglen formed Lemon Jelly with the DJ and visual artist Fred Deakin in 1998, when they began honing their distinctive, wryly amusing, chilled-out sound. Their second album, Lost Horizons, looks set to consolidate on the cult success of lemonjelly.ky, a collection of their previous output on EP.
3. KINOBE - Another studio-savvy duo, this time comprising the childhood friends Mark "Blackie" Blackburn and Julius Walters, whose single Slip into Something was given massive exposure via Kronenbourg 1664's 2000 Christmas television campaign. Characterised by eclectic, unexpected sampling, sweeping strings and infectious rhythms, the London-based team has also contributed music to BT and Magnum commercials. Signed to Pepper Records, they are working on their second album, the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Soundphiles.
4. LAMB - It's somehow apt that Lamb should be supporting the vegan Moby on his upcoming UK tour. Though Louise Rhodes and Andrew Barlow's tracks haven't been used in commercials quite as extensively as Moby's, they're not doing badly at all, featuring on high-profile spots for Orange, Audi, Guinness, Goodyear and Morgan Stanley. Formed in 1994 in Manchester, Lamb create an interesting musical tension by marrying taut traditional songwriting with electronic experimentation - Barlow's production expertise framing Rhodes' smoky, sensuous vocals. Their third album, What Sound?, was released last year.
5. JOBY TALBOT - Seriously talented, Joby Talbot is probably best known for the introductory music for the comedy series The League of Gentlemen, which won him a Golden Rose at the Montreux International TV Festival. A relative newcomer to advertising, his debut was a typically dramatic piece for BT broadband (see p14). Away from the box, the classically trained Talbot has written concerti for percussion and electric cello and arranged and performed with Neil Hannon's Divine Comedy. He has worked on music for the BBC's comedy series featuring Dawn French, Wild West, and a score for an animated feature called Robbie and the Vikings for Comic Relief. Displaying his wide skills and interests, Talbot was commissioned by the British Film Institute to write a score to Alfred Hitchcock's silent movie The Lodger, which has been performed live to screenings in Edinburgh, London and France.
6. JOCELYN POOK - In a varied career in which she's toured with The Communards, created film soundtracks for the late Derek Jarman's Caravaggio and Edward II, and composed music for theatre, ballet and television, Jocelyn Pook has also seen her distinctive music appear in commercials for the likes of Orange and Visa. A violin and viola specialist, she has strung along with a host of leading rock and pop artists, including PJ Harvey, Nick Cave and Peter Gabriel. She also wrote the score to Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut and has just completed a ten-part drama serial for the BBC called In a Land of Plenty.
7. SPACE RAIDERS - There can't be many bands named after an empty packet of crisps, but Space Raiders don't tend to do things by the book. Mark Hornby, Gary Bradford and Martin Jenkins have inclusive musical backgrounds to say the least - between them, they've done time in various outfits playing hillbilly skiffle, Velvet Underground covers and techno/breakbeat. Their take on music ("anything with a good melody and a sense of humour") means it has fitted the bill for ads as diverse as Sainsbury's and Adidas.
8. RAE + CHRISTIAN - These artists, based at Manchester's Grand Central Records, have remixed tracks for, among others, Moby, David Gray and Eagle Eye Cherry. Combining the talents of DJ/lyricist Mark Rae and music maker/producer Steve Christian, their well-received debut album, Northern Sulphuric Soul, was followed up by the more ambitious and varied Sleepwalking. Rae + Christian's promising foray into advertising arrived in a lively spot for Fanta.
9. MORCHEEBA - A winning fusion of jazz, hip-hop, pop and dub made instantly recognisable by the enchanting, sultry voice of Skye Edwards, Morcheeba are masters of the "chill out" genre. Formed by the brothers Paul and Ross Godfrey in the early 90s, Edwards joined them in 1995, prompting a rapid change of fortune. Four albums down - including the current Charango - they're still going strong. Their most notable advertising moment to date was a Ford Mondeo commercial.
10. MIRWAIS - It may seem strange to put someone who is knocking on 40 into the up-and-comers list, but Mirwais is proof that good things come to those who wait. Half Italian, half Afganistani, Mirwais was brought up in Paris. He progressed from punk to production, for which he has remarkable flair - Madonna hailed him as a genius and persuaded him to mix six tracks on her Music album. As well as his debut solo album, Production, he has ads for the Apple iBook, Renault Laguna and XFM to his name.
- Thank you to Dan Dunbar at SoundLounge and Rachel Iyer at Sony Music.