As much as I hate to admit it, I am that girl. The one whose Google Reader is flooded with news on the latest lo-fi Brooklyn grunge, gritty London punk or disco-vibe L.A. bands via the burgeoning indie blogosphere. When I find a band that’s nowhere close to the peak of stardom, I feel like I — in the twisted workings of my ridiculous mind — discovered them. At least I know I’ll never be in need of hard drugs; I get a high from constantly being on the lookout for the latest up-and-coming bands.

But then something happens. I’ll be in a store or have the television on and I’ll hear a song — my song, by my band — being played. Cut to last summer for instance: I’m minding my own business, when I hear a familiar beat playing in the background of a car commercial. Is that Phoenix, the band known for making innovative French synth-pop? No, they wouldn’t. But it was. And yes, they did.

What’s happening here? These are my bands. And I’m not trying to come off like a pretentious bitch here, but I don’t want my favorite bands to go big. Once they’re discovered by the masses they’ll no doubt get overplayed — and then the allure dies. I love having my own bands that barely anyone else knows about, because, in a way, it makes me feel connected to them. Is that so wrong? And I know it’s not fair for me to say that they’re “selling out” by wanting to be successful; they have to make a living somehow. It’s illogical, but I just can’t help it. I guess you can say I have a habit of growing painfully attached.

But how did it get like this? How did the high-pitched squeals of Passion Pit’s “Sleepyhead” — a track you would think the masses would find painfully annoying — attract advertising executives at Palm Pixie? Did The Magnetic Fields seriously lend its track to a Caesar Canine Cuisine dog commercial? Talk about suffering for your art.

Some picks are more predictable, though. Take Santigold’s new-wave, electro-pop slice “Creator.” The track’s throbbing bass and reggae-hipster vocals made Bud Light’s lime-flavored beer seem infinitely cooler. Hell, if Bud Light is good enough for one of 2008’s hottest new indie artists, it’s good enough for you, too.

Companies are clamoring to insert sounds into their ads to give their products a hip appeal. Executives would rather use artists like Wilco in Volkswagen commercials to give their cars a sleek, cool vibe than do the grunt work themselves. Financially, bands reap the benefits of lazy execs, but their integrity somehow seems lost.

But it might not be fair to throw that in the faces of artists anymore — the music industry isn’t what it used to be, and bands need to do whatever possible in order to survive, even if that means selling their artistic souls to big business. Still, if we want our favorite bands to keep making music and commercial advertising provides a means to an end, we all benefit, don’t we?

This isn’t a new dilemma. Of course, Apple has used the catchy-bands-plucked-from-obscurity stunt most prominently in recent years. The company paired each slick new version of its iPod with an artist that the masses had not yet heard of. If any artist was catapulted into fame by Apple, it’s alternative Canadian artist Feist. You couldn’t go anywhere in 2007 without hearing the painfully overplayed “1234.” Unknown no more, Feist became a Billboard-topping artist thanks to the psychedelically fresh iPod commercials.

After tracks by indie artists become lost in a sea of brand-name attachment, they lose the indie cred that once made them unique and actually independent. It’s hard to project a free-spirited, edgy persona when your once innovative, trippy synths are being tied to random products (I’m looking at you, Silversun Pickups, in that recent Pontiac Commercial).

That’s not to say that I’m willing to give up on my indie bands that take the mainstream route; I just know deep down I will never feel the same about them. Sure, I will continue shuffling them through my playlists, but at some point their mainstream appeal will lose me, and I’ll move on to the next up-and-coming thing and hope that they won’t go down the same road.

I’m still bitter about Phoenix, and that’s okay. Even though I am starting to understand where these bands are coming from, I know that every time I hear Outback Steakhouse’s debasement of Of Montreal — “Let’s go Outback tonight” — I am still going to cringe.

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