March 10, 2001
8:16 AM   Subscribe

"After the J. C. Penney ad ran, they got a letter from a fan wondering how they could be that desperate; did they need the money for an operation or something?" Tomorrow's New York Times Magazine covers the Apples in Stereo and other bands that are jeopardizing their realness by selling songs to advertisers.
posted by rcade (22 comments total)
Link here and you won't have to log in.
posted by nicwolff at 9:38 AM on March 10, 2001

I'm surprised the band had any say at all--I'm glad they owned their publishing rights and were able to make a decision.

I used to feel betrayed by the commercial use of my favorite songs. Now when I hear strains of James behind a Tylenol commercial, I just hope they made some money, and compliment the taste of the advertiser.
posted by frykitty at 9:47 AM on March 10, 2001

Any XTC fans here? If so, this recent news tidbit (LA Times, 1/21/01) might pique your interest in Apples in Stereo:

"XTC's Andy Partridge, having been sent CDs of the band the Apples in Stereo by singer (and XTC fan) Robert Schneider, liked what he heard so much that he called Schneider, and now the two are co-writing songs for a Schneider solo album, due in the spring. Meanwhile, Partridge and partner Colin Moulding plan to spend this year writing songs for a 2002 XTC album."
posted by shinybeast at 9:54 AM on March 10, 2001

Licensing pop and rock tunes to advertisers has become very big business... Sting's Brand New Day album became a huge seller only *after* Ogilvy & Mather cut a 30-second commercial from the "Desert Rose" music video for a Jaguar ad. Can one be an "artist" and greedy shill at the same time?
posted by Chairman_MaoXian at 10:11 AM on March 10, 2001

Maaaan, they sold out. I am totally not going to download their stuff anymore.
posted by thirteen at 10:15 AM on March 10, 2001

If the Apples are okay with it, their fans should respect that. I completely agree with Schneider's sentiment that "having to work another job that takes all your energy from your music is even more selling out". The same fan wondering if the Apples sold out would probably be delighted if an Apples in Stereo song got radio airplay, but arguably, commercial radio is a more corrupted venue for music than a TV ad. What counts is that the Apples have control over what happens to their music-- and their last album, The Discovery Of A World Inside The Moone, was totally great.
posted by wiremommy at 10:25 AM on March 10, 2001

Shinybeast, that news makes my day. Apples and XTC...that' s so cool! (Assuming rabid fanboy mode) Maybe this will lead to a Jeff Mangum (Neutral Milk Hotel) and Andy Partridge collaboration, which would probably be too weird and beautiful for words.
posted by Optamystic at 1:11 PM on March 10, 2001

I was one of those "cry sellout" dicks in college - but a marriage and mortgage later... well, priorities tend to adjust. I think it's a good thing that small cultural niches can find ways to squeek into the mainstream (and make some deserved money at the same time).

Will I feel the same way when well known bloggers start doing Nike and St. Ides endorsements? Um...

posted by mecawilson at 2:18 PM on March 10, 2001

People take this sort of thing way too seriously. Money and success can ruin you're favorite band, but so what? Find another band. Anyway, if you're pushing 30, and still worry about this sort of thing, then you need to quit your job at the record store, move out of mom's basement and make something happen for yourself. Pavement is DEAD, and that "indie cred" crap died with it.
posted by Watcher at 4:30 PM on March 10, 2001

St. Ides endorsements

Cause you know you can't blog w/o some malt liquor nearby.
posted by redleaf at 4:44 PM on March 10, 2001

Easy, breezy, bloggable Cover Girl. ;-)
posted by frykitty at 6:07 PM on March 10, 2001

I tend towards the idea that you're only selling out if you tailor your ideas to commercial ends. If you do a song for creative reasons and then sell it then I'd say your not really selling out.
posted by davidgentle at 6:18 PM on March 10, 2001

Moby licensed every single song from Play to be used for almost any commercial purpose, except for things which do not coincide with his beliefs. (Weapons, cigarettes, alcohol, meat.) His take was that allowing for positive associations (and we generally do view commercials as positive) with his music, he was creating a whole new audience for himself, and maximising potential for people who otherwise would never have heard of him to hear (and seek out more of) his music. It could ultimately be argued that his "selling out" was to the benefit of everyone who discovered him through the car and jeans adverts that ran with his songs behind them. "Moby? Like the whale, or what?"
posted by Dreama at 11:11 PM on March 11, 2001

I found Moby through the "Find My Baby" song that played on the Tiger Woods (mastercard?) ad.
posted by owillis at 11:13 PM on March 11, 2001

Dreama, one of the tracks from Play (Porcelain) is featured prominently in a line of Bailey's Irish Cream commercials.

Those commercials were actually a large part of the reason I bought the album.

posted by cCranium at 6:15 AM on March 12, 2001

I bought that damn Moby CD when it first came out, and then they rereleased it w/ extra tracks. Pisses me off.

It's a good album tho.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:17 AM on March 12, 2001

See, his plan worked -- and we have two MeFier testimonials to prove it! Moby is a marketing genius!
posted by Dreama at 7:42 AM on March 12, 2001

Well, it certainly helps that all the tracks on the album are above a certain level of quality. There really isn't a track that I dislike, which is rather rare.
posted by cCranium at 8:15 AM on March 12, 2001

Old but pertinent link: Dave Eggers' reaction to the idea of his having sold out. Heh.
posted by captainfez at 9:22 AM on March 12, 2001

You know - I wrote Eggers off a while ago - this after reading a total of maybe one McSweeneys article. It wasn't because I thought he was a sellout - I didn't know his work before to care - but because I just saw how he was pithy and that he was being hailed as brilliant and as some new voice.

I took the easy way out. Just as Luke's above link points out. Whether or not I ever read anymore of Eggers stuff - he certainly hit my reaction to him - and to the whole selling out bit - on the head. A point well made - I surely give him that.
posted by mecawilson at 9:46 AM on March 12, 2001

I, having ignored the hell out of that Advocate article ever since it came out, finally just now read it through.

yay me!

but I, unlike mecawilson, STILL yearn for a day when MetaFilter no longer goes through its periodic phases of six-degrees-of-Dave-Goddamn-Eggers.

(i am hoping that this posting is old enough that few people are reading enough that i can be forgiven for this exasperated and misplaced venture into the meta.)
posted by Sapphireblue at 12:44 PM on March 12, 2001

Goddam phony.
posted by sudama at 1:44 AM on March 15, 2001

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