He’s been a ‘Loser’. He’s had a ‘Devil’s Haircut’ and been a ‘Lost Cause’. And he’s always had a lot of sync appeal.
The American artist and producer has been prolific of late, his 2014 album Morning Phase, a left veer into Sea Change turf with its lush orchestral arrangements and dripping with melancholia, was so admired it won three Grammy Awards including best album, earning bonus points when his victory was scorned by Kanye West.
Next up, 2017’s double-Grammy winning Colours and its retro party-boy vibe, a light year from Morning Phase. When it drops, Hyperspace will be Beck’s third album in five years. That same period separated 2008’s Modern Guilt and Morning Phase and produced precisely no albums.
Where his output is unpredictable, syncs have kept Beck’s business humming along nicely throughout the quiet years, and the busiest of times. Data seen by TIO reveals a versatility that extends well outside the studio. Indeed, in the years since 1994’s Mellow Gold, his major label debut LP, Beck’s songs have been synchronised across more than 260 projects, from films to TV shows and ad campaigns.
You might have missed it, but Beck Hansen, this hip-swivelling, splits-manoeuvring performer with a reputation for indie experimentalism and mixing-up funky beats and who can play more than a dozen instruments, is very quietly a sync superstar.
In 2014, as Beck prepped for a U.S. tour which included a slot at Coachella, the American multinational GE added steam to the release by licensing Morning Phase opening tunes ‘Cycle’ and ‘Morning’ for a campaign. Syncs placements aren’t small beer. Beck can command five-digit sums for the use of his music, more depending on the project and its reach. Do the math, it’s a tidy business.
‘Morning’ also appeared in the indie film If I Stay, also released in 2014, and album tracks ‘Wave’ and ‘Turn Away’ soundtracked trailers for In The Heart Of the Sea and Wild, motion pictures released in the same year.
TV shows were open season for Beck’s catalogue in 2014, with Bones, Boston Legal, C.S.I. Miami and more showcasing the L.A. native’s tunes. Beck didn’t mount a global tour, he didn’t visit these shores, but his music was everywhere.
With Hyperspace looming, Beck will set out on the road in the U.S. and Canada for a stretch of dates through the northern summer. Australia is not yet on his radar, but he’ll be here on a screen near you.
The new album’s lead track ‘Saw Lightning’, written and produced by Beck and Pharrell Williams, is already off to a cracking start, thanks in part to its starring role in a new campaign for Beats’ Powerbeats Pro wireless earphones.
Watch the film for Beats’ Powerbeats Pro:
‘Saw Lightning’ powers a spot directed by Hiro Murai, the filmmaker behind Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’ clip, and starring NBA legend LeBron James and Aussie baller Ben Simmons, the Association’s reigning rookie of the year, among others.
Also, Beck’s moody track ‘Tarantula’ assists the from Music Inspired by Roma soundtrack, and his ridiculously upbeat ‘Super Cool’ featuring Robyn & The Lonely Island locks into The Lego Movie 2. Beck’s music will reach your ears this year, whether you’re chasing it or not.