April 8, 2012

Ray Stevens and The Commercials...

Q: How many songs are on The Encyclopedia of Recorded Comedy Music by Ray Stevens?

A: 108

When you watch the commercial for the encyclopedia it harkens back to a time when Heartland Music used to air album commercials on television at various times of the day. Those born after 1995 perhaps have no concept of what I'm referring to since those kind of commercials hadn't aired on TV since around that point in time. It used to be that singers who still had a fan-base and were still popular, but weren't able to get onto the radio for various reasons took to the television airwaves via 30 or 40 second commercials, often for Heartland Music. The singer, or group, would be shown on-screen singing as the album's track list rolled up the screen. Frequently there'd be a voice-over delivering the information about the album and how a person can buy it. The commercials always ended with the purchase information: Name of the album, mailing address, cost, and which styles of payment were accepted.

Ray Stevens did one of those kind of commercials in the late '80s for his 1987 2-LP set, Get The Best of Ray Stevens. The commercial hadn't aired since that point in time but I'd love to see it again!! Ray's album was for his label at the time, MCA. In the early to mid '90s Ray explored the concept of home video sales...selling hundreds of thousands of home videos in a genre not known for those kinds of sales figures at that point in time. Television commercials for three of his home video projects were aired frequently during the years of 1992, 1993, and 1995: Comedy Video Classics, Ray Stevens Live!, and Get Serious!

Once the internet became more and more dominant and the buying habits of music consumers changed, right around the mid '90s, it was no longer really necessary for record labels to purchase air-time on television to sell the music of non-radio artists. The internet enabled those artists to take advantage of the relatively free exposure the internet provided to hundreds of thousands, and in some cases, millions of potential consumers. Now then, since there's been an entirely different generation brought up with on-line advertising and music downloading being the chosen way of purchasing, specifically for those born during the mid-late '90s and later, it's become something of a rarity for that younger audience to see a newly made-yet-traditional commercial like the one you see below show up on-line...  

Being a person of traditional leanings I happen to like the video commercial. There may be some that don't get the point of the commercial considering that they probably rely on web-sharing and Amazon's popularity lists or current radio playlists to influence their buying decisions but for a lot of others the commercial is entertaining/informative and it successfully does it's job of keeping the product front and center, which is the goal of any commercial. The video is more than 3 minutes long...so there will perhaps need to be some extensive editing done if Ray, at some point, wants to air this on television as a typical commercial but it may just remain an on-line exclusive. I really can't see where you can edit it anyway...the commercial runs so smoothly that it doesn't feel like it's as lengthy as it is.

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