In their latest issue, Q magazine reports that “Up All Night”, “Wow”, and “Dreams” will appear on Beck’s upcoming album. And in case you aren’t keeping tally, these songs have so far accumulated five licensing deals between them. Right, so popular music in advertisements is nothing new, and shouldn’t be a big deal, Bon Iver. But it is noteworthy when an album seems on track to become the next Play before it’s even released. To put it another way, Beck’s new album is out in November, according to The New York Times, and we haven’t heard a peep from the guy, except through commercials (and one video game).
Who all has spread the good word of Beck, 15 seconds at a time? Let’s start with “Dreams”, which got picked up by ESPN for the commercial for their Cubs/Dodgers game. Video of that seems lost forever, sadly. Volkswagen also used the breezy, Tame Impala-aping number, in a charming clip where a napping man behaves like a napping dog because Volkswagen cars are so cool.
“Wow”, Beck‘s goofiest, slickest song in years was used in another car ad. This time for Acura.
Unlike the first two tracks, “Up All Night” has not yet been released officially, though it has appeared in a video game and a commercial for a Fossil smartwatch. This is the first time in the album cycle that a licensing deal came before the official single release—and it did it twice.
2016 has been a year of unconventional album rollouts—whether they are immaculate, vertically integrated collaborations between respected television networks or massive tech conglomerates; or whether they include live listening parties where fans pay $20 to watch via satellite at their local movie theater; or whether the album is premiered in full at a festival months before its official release. So let’s throw Beck’s name up there: the album roll out via commercials. As PMA writer Peter Tabakis put it when we discussed this, Beck deserves some “fuck you” money.