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The Needle Drop: TV Tunes Playlist

Sep 15, 2017

When MTV launched on Aug. 1, 1981, the very first music video played was "Video Killed The Radio Star" by The Buggles. The song's lyrical message mixes nostalgic sentiments with concerns about how technological advancements will impact the future of music consumption and the musical stars these advancements would create.

Video might not have killed the radio star, but stars are still being made through video as a medium — just in a different way. It's called "song placement." The right song, placed at the right time in a television show, commercial, or movie, can turn an artist into an overnight success. Just like a great video can seep into our consciousness, a song placement can move the needle for an artist on iTunes or Spotify — and might lead viewers to their next favorite song.

Pop song placements are nothing new — but in the last 20 years, they have become ubiquitous, particularly in television. From the use of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" in the finale of The Sopranos and Badfinger's "Baby Blue" in the finale of Breaking Bad to Michael Kiwanuka's "Cold Little Heart" as the theme song to Big Little Lies to the several versions of "Way Down In The Hole" featured on The Wire, we've compiled a list of some of the best-placed songs in television. Our playlist also include songs featured on The O.C., Grey's Anatomy, Orange Is The New Black, Chuck, This Is Us and 13 Reasons Why.

TV Tunes Playlist

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