One day, I was surprised to hear the Air song "Alpha Beta Gaga" in my house. I was surprised because, although I love the song, I don't actually own it. I was also surprised because it was coming from a room in which my wife was located. (My wife hadn't even heard of Air.)
Turns out that she was watching one of the C.S.I. shows, and "Alpha Beta Gaga" had been incorporated into the show's soundtrack.
Kind of fitting, since Air's original video for the song has a law enforcement theme, sort of.
Television and movie producers all have people who pay attention to the music incorporated into their shows/movies. Their goal, whether recycling an old song or commissioning a new one, is to find music that complements the action on the screen. (In some cases, their goal is to find music that will attract an audience; there are certainly cases in which the soundtrack for a movie is much better than the movie itself.)
But often the use of a song in a television or movie soundtrack will attract people to the song who had never heard it before. A prime example - somehow I went through the entire twentieth century without hearing the Cure song "A Forest." But then one day I was watching something on the Fox Soccer Channel and was intrigued by the music at the tail end of a show. (When you think about it, the guitar-driven choruses in "A Forest" lend themselves well to a TV show about the English Premier League.) Since then, that has become my favorite Cure song (Fascination Street, schmasination street).
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