Are You Gonna Be My Girl, Jet
So one, two, three, take my hand, and come with me, because you look so fine and I really wanna make you mine.
For most music listeners around the world, the punchy, crunchy chords that follow those opening lyrics aren’t just the foundation of a great rock song; they provide the soundtrack to one of the most iconic television commercials in recent memory. Two years after it unveiled its iPod line in 2001, Apple chose this tune by the Australian band Jet to be the audio backdrop for its cast of gyrating, earbud-wearing hipsters, who dance in ecstasy amid a constantly changing splash of neon colors.
But the commercial did more than make playing air guitar look not quite so ridiculous. It also signaled a sea change in the way consumers were buying their music. Beginning in 2001, the year the iPod was introduced, CD sales would embark on a long, painful decline, from a peak of 943 million units sold in the U.S., to 428 million units last year. No longer did you have to wait outside of Tower Records for the midnight release of the new Springsteen album. You could buy it instantly online. Apple’s iTunes Store now accounts for approximately 70 percent of all digital music sales and has sold more than 6 billion songs. More broadly, digital sales make up nearly half of all the music sold in the U.S., a tectonic shift in the marketplace that has caused the near destruction of the big record retail chains.
As for Jet, the commercial helped propel sales of the band’s album Get Born to more than 3 million copies around the world. The band’s latest album, Shine On, has sold fewer than a million copies.