Brands Backstage: A Conversation with Moon Taxi
FlyteVu has partnered with the CMO Club to bring you the audio series: Brands Backstage. This series gives brand marketers an inside perspective on how some of today’s top music artists think about partnerships.
In this episode:
- We introduce Moon Taxi, an American Indie Alternative Rock band who recently released their fifth album, “Let the Record Play.”
- We discuss what is a win for a band that is extremely cautious when partnering with brands.
- We learn how Moon Taxi prefers using their songwriting skills to amplify a brand’s message.
For the past ten years, Moon Taxi has been releasing music and finding clever ways to integrate with brands, while letting their music speak for itself. They are an incredibly successful sync band with national commercials by McDonald’s, Jeep, Hulu, BMW and more.
“We’ve done a lot of things on our own and this is the tenth anniversary of the band, and we’ve got our first major label deal with a big global hit song that now has 78 million streams on Spotify,” said Don VanCleave, Manager for Moon Taxi.
When it comes to Moon Taxi’s brand, their manager admits they are protective over it and extremely cautious when it comes to brand partnerships. “As the manager of the band I have to protect them from expectations of brands sometimes. We have looked at a few and found that the expectations on the brand side didn’t quite fit with the ethos of what we want to do with the way we talk to our fans. We didn’t want to become so brand heavy in our socials and things like that,” said VanCleave.
While “typical” brand partnerships are rare for Moon Taxi they have found a unique way to work with brands that is a win for both the client and musicians. “When we get in a brand relationship, if it’s a big win for both sides, and the expectations of what a band is really able to do in communicating with their fan base, then we’ll absolutely look at it. We prefer though to let the music do the talking,” said VanCleave.
One way to let the music do the talking, which has proved successful for Moon Taxi, is by being a sync band, allowing their music to be used by brands in all manner of commercials from cable to streaming services including Amazon, Hulu and Netflix. “We rarely turn down a sync request,” said VanCleave.
Moon Taxi’s music can be heard in numerous commercials including McDonald’s ‘all day, all night’ breakfast announcement. “My Mom saw the news and sent me the article and said, “‘Hey, you played me that demo when you were home for Christmas ‘All Day All Night’. McDonald’s is releasing new breakfast hours and the name of this article is ‘All Day, All Night Breakfast!’” said Wes Bailey, keyboard player. With the help of industry relationships and a tweet at McDonald’s, within 90 days Moon Taxi’s song “All Day All Night” was running nationally and ran about 1,800 times including during the fourth quarter in the NBA Championship and GRAMMY Awards.
VanCleave can’t stress enough the importance of building relationships with CMOs, music supervisors at networks, and ad agencies in order for the decision makers to understand the band. “If we are going to be in Atlanta for a big festival, we will go in a day early and play lunch for the Turner Broadcasting System. We are very into getting out there and handing the decision makers in these cases our music. We do things like that knowing it’s not going to be necessarily the most fun environment for the band to be playing but it’s going to pay dividends down the road,” said VanCleave.
When it comes to brand’s pitching artists to write music for commercials, Don suggests sending a pitch deck of what they want to accomplish in messaging to their consumers, and then the artists’ can write a song motivated by the themes the brand is looking for.