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28 Oct, 2023 21:48

Russian musician in Apple campaign admits he uses Huawei

A fusion rock band leader from Siberia whose music features in an ad by the US tech giant says he has never bought the product he was selling
Russian musician in Apple campaign admits he uses Huawei

Apple’s marketing campaign for its brand-new iPhone 15 Pro involves a collaboration with a little-known musician from Siberia, Russia – Albert Kuvezin. While a short iPhone ad featuring his song has become immensely popular on YouTube, Kuvezin himself admits that he has never owned the product he is selling.

The ad for the iPhone 15 Pro Titanium, which has the song ‘Karangailyg Kara Hovaa (Dyngyldai)’ by Kuvezin’s band, Yat-Kha, playing in the background, has gained 14 million views – about ten times more than another iPhone 15 ad featuring the song ‘Get Him Back!’ by Olivia Rodrigo, a pop star with global reach, was able to garner over the same time.

Kuvezin, the man behind the marketing campaign, lives in a small mountain village in Russia’s remote Siberian region of Tuva, which borders Mongolia. He leads a fusion rock band that merges local Tuvan folk music with Western rock. The song that Apple licensed for its clip was released by the band as early as 1995 as part of its ‘Yenisei-Punk’ album. The name of the song translates as ‘In the Endless Black Steppe’.

Kuvezin told the Wall Street Journal in the wake of his success that he did not initially understand when Apple contacted him to use an old song of his for an ad. He simply forwarded the message to his band’s record company based in Finland.

It was only after he started hearing about the ad from friends and relatives that he realized what had happened. Kuvezin said he was not sure why the US tech giant chose his song for the commercial. “I still don’t know,” he told the WSJ. Apple declined to comment.

The musician did not reveal how much Apple paid for licensing his band’s song. “For an unknown musician, it’s quite good,” he said. “For a rock star, it’s maybe one concert.” He also admitted that he has never owned an iPhone due to the price. He owns a Chinese smartphone instead, he told the WSJ.

“I have a Huawei,” Kuvezin said, adding that “it was very cheap.”

He added that he hopes people will show more interest in his band after the ad’s success. “I don’t know if people will know the name of our band,” Kuvezin said. “But people will recognize the sound. Which is also good.”

“I think it could be great for people worldwide to discover our music,” he said, adding that for him it is more important that “we can keep doing our music.”

Kuvezin, who founded the band back in the 1980s, gained prominence in his home Tuva Region and received several honors from the regional authorities. He was also a one-time regional MP after winning an election in 2014. He has received several music awards in France and Germany, while BBC Radio named his band the best ‘World Music’ performers in the Asian Pacific Region in 2002.