Is it true it all goes to Ray? Wish Dave saw some of that money.... Seems like he deserves it.
When you buy a CD or pay for a download of a Kinks song, the entire band gets some payment as performers and members of the Kinks. It's not as much as the songwriter, but it's something. I'd have to think advertising licensing works the same way.
If the performing rights are the same in the US as they are in the UK, then everyone performing will get a payment everytime the song is played. To get round this advertisers often re-record tracks using semi-soundalikes who get a flat fee. But I'm sure everyone on this forum will be able to spot which is real and which is fake.
I'm pondering why the Kinks catalog would be so attractive to advertisers. Why would their songs work better than their musical peers' -- while those same songs may not have had equal success on the airwaves when they were released? There could be several reasons --
1. Their songs are teasingly familiar, but not overplayed -- people perk up vaguely when they hear them, but don't shut them out from familiarity.
2. Ray's knack for the melodic phrase makes them effective in small advert-length sound-bites (he doesn't depend on extended riffs like many Stones or Who songs do).
3. Someone has been flogging them aggressively to the advertising community.
4. Their musicial superiority instantly blows people's minds and makes them more susceptible to buying stuff. (The old buy buy buy response so well documented by our doctor blamo.)
5. If you use a Beatles, people will say "it's a Beatles song" and that's all. If you use a Kinks song people may like it and ask "who plays this song that appears in an advert OF HEWLETT-PACKARD?" So you know the advert is of Hewlett Packard and you may make some people notice about it.
6. We will have a thread in this forum about it. I don't think Stones or Who fans would.