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The community weblog MetaFilter featured a post detailing a Washington Post article titled How to Calculate Musical Sellouts with an accompanying graphic of a "mathematical formula" called The Moby Quotient:
The Moby Quotient, generated by the formula below, determines the degree to which artists besmirch their reputations when they lend their music to hawk products or companies. (The name salutes the techno artist Moby, who took the practice to new extremes with his 1999 album "Play." The Moby Quotient is designated by the Greek letter mu.)
This Washington Post article (by author Bill Wyman) is the latest in a long line of articles recycling the notion that popular music used in advertising equates artistic sellout. The theory being that a musician cannot profit from their own work via music licensing and maintain artistic integrity. The Wyman piece repackages this view with a snarky mathematical infographic that seems more suited for USA Today rather than the Washington Post.

When Wyman mentions this trend in relation to artist Moby, he frames it as a modern cautionary tale:
Our one hope is that what greed created, greed may eventually eliminate -- in other words, that younger artists will view Moby's career as a cautionary tale. The jut-jawed vegan still makes a good living touring and doing film soundtracks and the like. But it's also true that commercially and artistically, his recorded work since "Play" has been on a downward spiral. Let the sellouts beware.
The Post article would have you believe that a benevolent music industry has been soiled in recent years by television commercial producers and a bald electronica artist only out to make a buck. Musicians working with Madison Avenue is as old as the music industry itself. Step back in time and read about it from over 5 years ago.

...and over 10 years ago.

...and over 20 years ago.

...and over 30 years ago.

...and over 40 years ago.

...and over 50 years ago.

Is Moby any more of a sell-out than Cole Porter? When a music critic rails against popular music in advertising they are ignoring a fact that is currently decimating the music industry: People do not listen to music the same way they did 10 years ago. They do not tune into FM radio, watch a video on MTV, or buy a CD from Tower Records. Since traditional outlets for music are quickly dying away, it is no wonder that more popular music appears in TV commercials.

by Moby

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