In Violent Femmes Turn on Each Other, I lament the processing of the songs from my youth into ad jingles.
The author of the Truth Be Told blog posted a great reply.
After the Beatles broke up some British journalist asked Mick Jagger, “Do you think the Rolling Stones will ever break up?” He replied something like, “Nah, but if we do, we won’t be so bitchy about it.”
Rankling over rights to songwriting credit to a cut of the t-shirt revenue is and has been nearly derigueur in the rock world for, like, ever. Right? This is why there is a need for entertainment law. Some people are better suited for clearing this stuff up.
I’m not unsympathetic to the pain of hearing a song you love being sold though. Like seeing a teenage crush looking old, world worn, and married to some repulsive creature, hearing a beloved song turned commercial is heartbreaking. But the thing to keep in mind is that as much as the song might’ve felt as if it were yours, as much as it intertwined in the ’soundtrack of your life’ the song was never really yours. It was for everybody to hear.
So, if Iggy Pop can live better courtesy of Carnival Cruise lines, I say, great. If the Dandy Warhols can build a fabulous studio of their own off “Bohemian Like You” courtesy of a cel phone company, that’s awesome. A few years back some people were giving Mike Watt hell for selling the rights to one of the Minutemen songs for a commercial. His retort was pretty clear: D. Boon’s dad needed medical care and selling the song paid for it.
I don’t listen to commercials if I can avoid them but when I do get subjected to them I think it’s better to have quality music broadcasted. I’d rather have a good songwriter getting paid than some hack who took refuge in the advertising world with his mediocre jingle writing skills. (source)