The “Apple Bump” is real. Whether Apple just has a knack for picking songs that are destined to become popular or the tech giant really has that much influence over the music industry, songs featured in Apple commercials have a way of becoming popular overnight.
When Apple first announced the iPhone X in September, its main advertisement for the device included a relatively unknown song by dance music duo Sofi Tukker. Best Friend — which also features Nervo, The Knocks, and Alisa Ueno — became very prominent after the ad was viewed 8 million times in the 24 hours following Apple’s September event.
Good music has always been a staple of Apple’s marketing campaigns, however, and as a result, Apple has become known for its taste in music. Here are some our favorite songs featured in Apple adverts throughout the years.
Hey Mama by the Black Eyed Peas — 2004
Apple’s first “silhouette” ad premiered in 2003, soundtracked to the song Hey Mama by the Black Eyed Peas. The L.A.-based hip-hop group were not particularly well known at the time, but the ad — which featured dancing silhouettes, white iPods, and multiple pairs of dangling headphones — helped the group quickly make a name for themselves. The ad would not only define Apple’s advertising throughout the 2000s, but would establish the Black Eyed Peas as one of the best-selling pop acts in the world.
Jerk It Out by Caesars — 2005
Featured in one of Apple’s iconic “silhouette” ads from the early-2000s, Jerk It Out was a staple for much of the era’s media. The upbeat rock number was featured in an ad for the original iPod Shuffle, and was included in franchises such as Dance Dance Revolution and Rock Band, as well as TV shows like Dawson’s Creek and Entourage. It was Caesar’s first international hit and continues to see its fair share of use in pop culture. The single was even re-released in 2005 and 2006, likely due to its popularity in the iPod commercial.
Technologic by Daft Punk — 2005
Daft Punk’s Technologic helped put them on the map, but it couldn’t have been done without Apple. Although the French duo has been popular in the house scene since the early ’90s, their inclusion in an iPod commercial helped cement Daft Punk as a household name. The robotic-sounding lyrics, which include commands such as “charge it” and “press it,” capture the feeling of using an electronic device, and pair well with the silhouette-style of Apple’s marketing at that time. The song was also featured on an ad for a Motorola phone, but wasn’t nearly as affective.
1234 by Feist (iPod Nano) — 2007
Feist received international acclaim after her hit single, 1234, became the official song of the iPod Nano marketing campaign. Although the campaign never addresses the Canadian singer by name, the whimsical pop song remains the artist’s biggest hit in the United States and her only song to be included on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was even nominated for several awards in 2008, including both a Grammy and a Juno Award.
New Soul by Yael Naim — 2008
A song handpicked by Steve Jobs for the launch of the new MacBook Air, New Soul not only elevated the commercial it was a part of, but also helped Naim rise to fame in the U.S. The indie-folk song about self-reflection and reincarnation quickly rocketed to the top of the charts, but only after receiving the commercial treatment from Apple.
Shut Up and Let Me Go by The Ting Tings — 2008
One of the last iterations of Apple’s iconic silhouette ads introduced audiences to the Ting Tings, an English punk band from the greater Manchester area. After being featured in an iPod ad in 2008, the popularity of Shut Up and Let Me Go skyrocketed, prompting the band to re-release their earlier single, That’s Not My Name, to the American market. Shut Up and Let Me Go was the band’s first song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles.
Bruises by Chairlift — 2008
Bruises is the first single from Chairlift’s debut album, one that catapulted the now-defunct synthpop band to stardom in 2008 alongside the iPod Nano. Upbeat and choral, the lyrics, “I tried to do headstands for you” fit perfectly within the confines of the commercial, as a series of rotating iPods line up in a range of vibrant colors on-screen. Chairlift would embark on their first international tour in 2009, a year after the release of their first album, thanks in part to Apple.
Short Skirt / Long Jacket by Cake — 2010
This iconic Cake song, originally released in 2001, was popular long before it was ever included in an Apple advertisement. That said, Short Skirt / Long Jacket was still the perfect fit for an iPod Nano ad. The lyrics expertly accentuated the versatility of the Nano’s small design, which, adapts to a myriad of clothing (pants, jackets, etc) throughout the commercial.
Tongue Tied by Grouplove — 2011
Tongue Tied was featured in an iPod Touch commercial in 2011, shortly after the song’s initial release. By 2012, the catchy electro-pop song had reached No. 1 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. The L.A.-based band went on to have several of their other songs from the same album featured in other commercials, including one for Coca-Cola. The commercial — and by extension, the song — highlighted the new features found on the newly-minted iPod Touch, including games and the now-ubiquitous iMessage.
Area by MagnusTheMagnus — 2017
Magnus Lidehäll (MagnusTheMagnus), an award-winning producer and songwriter, wrote and recorded the song Area in 2016. It was featured in an iPhone 8/8 Plus advertisement in 2017. An electro-pop number with an intricate bass-line, the song’s sole lyric, “watch this,” captures some of the more advanced aspects of Apple’s latest iPhones, including Portrait Lighting and wireless charging. Another of Lidehäll’s songs, Keep on Lovin’, was featured in an ad for the iPhone X.
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