This Is What Selling Out Looks Like In 2015, And It’s Really Impressive


We’ve covered it before, music sales are dipping lower and lower each year, with even digital numbers starting to dwindle, each year losing further ground to streaming, where the royalty rates are rarely enough to help an artist make a living, let alone enjoy a viable career.


So we understand when bands start looking everywhere they can in order to find new sources of revenue, whether it be through extensive touring (with possible brand sponsorships), creative merchandising, product endorsements, or for the independently-minded, Patreon and Kickstarter.


But we have to hand it to Imagine Dragons for their recent “Grammys performance”, which took up an entire ad break during the recent awards show broadcast. Considering Billboard estimate ad rates during the Grammys broadcast come with a $1 million per thirty-second spot price tag, the performance likely cost about $8 million to air.


For those keeping score, that’s roughly the price of two Super Bowl ads. Oh, and that’s just for the airtime. The state-of-art performance, directed by Jonas Akerlund and shot on a unique 360-degree stage with 22 cameras, a helicopter, and lots of LED wizardry, all taking place in the middle of a Las Vegas street, surely cost a pretty penny too.


At this point you’ve realised the not even the band’s label would have bankrolled such an opulent venture, no matter how many extra records they think they could sell. No, the whole thing was paid for courtesy of department store chain Target, whose logo is emblazoned or subliminally shoehorned into just about every frame of the performance.


Honestly, we kind of have to hand it to Target and the Imagine Dragons boys. While this may be the most egregious example of “selling out” in recent memory, the ad, which is part of Target’s #MoreMusic social media campaign, certainly worked. After all, you’re reading about it right now.


Furthermore, the fact that the retailer essentially eliminated a pesky ad break for music lovers and replaced it with, well, more music, certainly doesn’t hurt Target’s image. But while the company got an entire ad break all to themselves, as well as their logo literally beamed onto an entire crowd of people, what did the band get?


Well, besides airtime for their latest single, ‘Shots’, and plenty of press, the ad also plugged the deluxe edition of the band’s latest album, Smoke + Mirrors, which is slated to come out later this month, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s available exclusively through Target. Well played, guys.