Are Artists Sell-Outs?

Do you consider artists sell-outs for selling their music to be featured in television ad campaigns?

  • Yes: Total Sell-Outs wanting to make a quick buck!

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No Way: Making a career move. Great exposure opportunity!

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Not Sure.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Don't Care.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    0

michelle

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The latest Nissan ad for the Quest Mini-van features the song "Gravity Rides Everything" by Indie-Rock band Modest Mouse. This has MM fans in a tizzy over whether the band are sell-outs or just making a living.

What do you think? A band/artist has the chance for national exposure (maybe even international) just by supplying their song as the track to a television ad campaign. Are they just looking for a quick buck or is it a legitimate and justifiable career move?
 

jca

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I don't think an artist is necessarily "selling out" by having their music used in a commercial. For example, Moby couldn't get his music played on FM radio, so he started licensing his songs for ads. This made his album PLAY the most commercially licensed album ever, which in turn got him airplay radio wouldn't give him before, resulting in his success.

On the other hand, Michael Jackson licensing The Beatles song Revolution years ago to Nike for TV ads is nothing but him cashing in on his investment.
 

TV@Beat

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I think that brand new artists are springing up and from where I heard on a VH1 article:

For new artists you don't go to radio, TV or Music Videos, Commericals seem to be the way to go and to turn into really good music you can't find right out of the blue.
 

dascoot

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I agree with yall, it's one thing if you're a gabillionaire and are just selling the music to sell it, but when you're an indie band, or a hardworking group that just can't get a break, this is an excellent way to get noticed.. It's a fine line between selling your music to pay your bills and selling out..
 

michelle

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What about, for example: Madonna (Gap), Britney (Pepsi), N'Sync (Chili's)...

Clearly none of them need the publicity or the money. If you're a fan of their's, does it change your opinion of them?
 

brandx

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the issue of weather they need the fame or money or not is not really an issue. who's to say they have ENOUGH fame or ENOUGH money. you can't say if you were in the same position that you wouldn't do the same thing. so you get to add another 100,000 to your couple million for a day's work and possibly sell more records because of it...wouldn't YOU do it??? it'd be stupid to turn a business opportunity like that down. not to mention many artists in that position often donate their endorsements. it can mean quite a bit of money for not a whole lot of extra work.

music is art...artists often get pegged with being "sell-outs" if they get famous. but art is also business. people make a living that way, and getting famous is just a career advancement...in your own profession would you turn down a raise or a promotion for doing a little something extra?
 

INDIEclouds

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I agree with lots of you on this thread. Modest Mouse rocks and I'm glad they're doing it, they deserve it. The Madonna gap commercial make me severly ill...but it's like, some people have money and weird ideas and can do whatever they want, and you can't stop it. NOT EVERYBODY likes what's on TV; how can they please ALL of thier fans?? they can't...and the world goes on. :mellow:

..but all right MM!!
 

michelle

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I know very little about Modest Mouse, in fact only heard of them because of the car ad and their music... But, I did read something where a fan mentioned how Modest Mouse has written songs about commercialism being bad, etc... So, the fan thought it was strange that the band would be promoting something like mini-vans on tv. But, I also think the point was later made that it could very likely be the record company making the decisions to "sell-out" and not the artists.

Interesting topic still...
 

brandx

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see, that's what pisses me off. it's fine for people to make money from selling their stuff to commercials. they made it, they can use it how they want.
but when the band speaks out against it...and then does it! that's a bunch of crap. REM ... perfect example...for years, said they would never "sell out" then all of a sudden "i am superman" pops up in an ad (i've forgotten which one). anyway...if you're going to speak out against it, stick to your guns...or admit you were wrong...and really the issue is "we aren't going to sell out UNLESS the price is right."
 

FourRings

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Well, in a nutshell the artists have limited choices. 1. Sell their recordings the old-fashioned way (cut a CD and sell it online or in a b&m) & make some money. 2. Cut the CD, try to sell it the old-fashioned way but have it ripped & shared a million times over the internet & make very little money. 3. Cut the CD, have it shared/stolen on the internet, market themselves in new ways to as many people as possible & possibly make as much money before Kazaa, Limewire, Morpheus came into popularity.


Sell outs? What would you do if people were stealing your merchandise, sit back and watch?
 

dascoot

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Originally posted by brandx@Aug 22 2003, 05:27 PM
the issue of weather they need the fame or money or not is not really an issue. who's to say they have ENOUGH fame or ENOUGH money. you can't say if you were in the same position that you wouldn't do the same thing. so you get to add another 100,000 to your couple million for a day's work and possibly sell more records because of it...wouldn't YOU do it??? it'd be stupid to turn a business opportunity like that down. not to mention many artists in that position often donate their endorsements. it can mean quite a bit of money for not a whole lot of extra work.

music is art...artists often get pegged with being "sell-outs" if they get famous. but art is also business. people make a living that way, and getting famous is just a career advancement...in your own profession would you turn down a raise or a promotion for doing a little something extra?
Actually, BS aside and completely honestly, no I wouldn't do it. I've never felt the need to make MORE MORE MORE money and am completely happy living simply. That's just me, I know, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and to live their life their own way, etc etc, I know that too..
I do sell my art. No, it's not music, and I highly doubt that I will ever be in their shoes, so I can't honestly say how I would feel if I was.. but for ME, the fact that I have created something that someone else likes enough to want to own is good enough for me. If it inspires something in someone, my job is done. (shrug)
I have a home, a car to drive, my family is always fed, and I can pay my bills. That's all I need. If I made only 1 million dollars, one time, I could live off that for the rest of my life. I can't even fathom living so far above my means that I would NEED to make an extra 100,000 to add to my multimillion dollar bank roll.
It's sorta about respect, too. Look at the band TooL, for example. Anyone who listens to them and buys their albums and hears the message they send out understands what I mean. Never have, (probably) never will "sell out" (by which I mean lend/sell their music to ads or movies), don't plaster their faces and their personal lives all over the place, and in fact do little more to suppliment their incomes than tour and sell tshirts. Their fans have nothing but the utmost respect for them. [note - listen to their song "Hooker With a Penis"]
But yes.. it IS the artist's creation, and it IS their right and priveledge to use it/sell it as they wish. FourRings makes an excellent point, since in this day and age, the "old fashioned way" can get you only so far. My humble opinion, like I said earlier, is that it's a fine line.
Starving artist? Sell your music to a minivan company! Yes, by all means! You have kids to feed and bills to pay, do what you can to make your dream a reality, all the while making up for the money you WOULD be making if people weren't downloading all your profits away.
Madonna? You REALLY need another million? No, you're doing it for the attention.. or whatever. She, in my eyes, is a sellout. She sells her music to ads for the sake of selling music.
But so what? She wrote that little tune, she made it huge, let her do it. To be honest I think it's a catchy commercial, even if I have no respect for her as a serious artist. All I mean is that the term "sell out" can't always be applied to every situation. Not black and white but varying degrees of gray. Anyway that's my long winded 2 cents, thanks for readin..
 

INDIEclouds

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Originally posted by FourRings@Aug 25 2003, 11:04 AM
Well, in a nutshell the artists have limited choices. 1. Sell their recordings the old-fashioned way (cut a CD and sell it online or in a b&m) & make some money. 2. Cut the CD, try to sell it the old-fashioned way but have it ripped & shared a million times over the internet & make very little money. 3. Cut the CD, have it shared/stolen on the internet, market themselves in new ways to as many people as possible & possibly make as much money before Kazaa, Limewire, Morpheus came into popularity.


Sell outs? What would you do if people were stealing your merchandise, sit back and watch?
good point!
 

DannyD1223

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I've known about modest mouse for a while now and at first I was pissed to see their song in a minivan commercial. Then I remembered I found out about them through skateboard videos and thats kind of selling your music especially with skateboarding where if its cool people will buy your music. If they achieve commercial success all the luck to them because their a great band. Hopefully this ad helps them get on Mtv.
 

goodorevil?

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This is kind of an old thread, but I wanted to add something.

I can speak with a little bit of insider knowledge. I am a writer at an ad agency and make some of the decisions as to which piece of music goes on our ads.

Here's some background. We think up the ad. We produce the ad. Along the way, we think of what would make the best soundtrack to this ad. Sometimes it is an original composition. Sometimes we remember a song we heard that we think would be great. Sometimes we turn to old classics/retro/whatever. And sometimes we hire a researcher to find us undiscovered bands, indies, etc.

Once we decide, we approach the band (usually through their label or management). We ask if they would even consider letting us license the track. Often the chase ends there, when the artist says they don't sell, period. End of story. Artistic integrity intact.

On the other hand, lots of small bands are usually thrilled to get any big $$ for their song. It's usually more than they've gotten through album sales alone anyway.

Some of the bigger bands who have causes they care about will try to negotiate a donation to that cause. This is really smart.

For some artists, a commercial can be the best exposure they can get. Dirty Vegas would be nowhere without Mitsubishi. And Nick Drake's music would still be forgotten if not for VW's use of Pink Moon.

As for us who create the ads? People hate us for using their favorite "underground" band and ruining it for everyone. And sometimes that's deserved.

Personally, I've got limits. There are many artists who I feel are kind of untouchable and shouldn't be used. And songs that would be sacreligous to use. Nirvana. Rage. Old Dylan. Zeppelin. Elliot Smith. Sex Pistols. Mostly people who were/are decidedly anti-commercial or anti-establishment. Or just deeply personal.


Oh yeah, the question: are they sellouts?

Yup. Not that there's anything wrong with that though.
 

michelle

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welcome to the forums, goodorevil! and, thanks for the inside scoop! it is really interesting to hear what actually happens, and not just go on what the general public believes as the truth. :)

by the way, feel free to keep us informed on any upcoming campaigns you work on that include the next big thing in good music! ;)
 

The Lost Boy

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The artists that simply express their consent to aloow companies to use their songs in commercials are making a business move. However the douche bags that appear in ads with a choreographed dance and a song about Pepsi, are just sick. Like BS. They can't get enough money and they want it all. These bastards should be taken out Tony Montana style.
 

dascoot

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Originally posted by goodorevil?@Nov 8 2003, 02:55 AM
...Personally, I've got limits. There are many artists who I feel are kind of untouchable and shouldn't be used. And songs that would be sacreligous to use. Nirvana. Rage. Old Dylan. Zeppelin. Elliot Smith. Sex Pistols. Mostly people who were/are decidedly anti-commercial or anti-establishment. Or just deeply personal...
This was a really great contribution, sorry to see goodorevil only posted the one time.. but incidently, Zeppelin actually has sold their music to commercials. Remember "Rock and Roll"?
I wonder, too, if allowing someone to sample your song is also along these same "sell out" lines.. if so, what about P Diddy or Puff Whatsit or whatever sampling "Kashmir"? (*shudder*)
 

Usagi

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Greetings, peeps...

Let's not forget that there is a difference between selling-out and buying-in. Would I do it? I wouldn't even think twice about it. I'd sign on the dotted line and head right over to a Cadillac dealership for a new car... as long as my music is used for something I wouldn't mind endorsing. But that's not always the case. Some artists don't have much of a choice about where their music ends up because of big label companies that own the artist's music before the group or musician ever composes it. That's a sad, sad thing. Oh well...
 

Kodos84

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Hello everyone...

I don't really think about the part about selling out. I mean... if i see an ad with music from someone i like, i'm just thinking awesome. And i agree with what someone said: If you could have a few thousand more dollars, wouldnt you do it?

And i dont get the whole anti-commercialism thing... except when it comes to spamming <_< . Selling your music to ads is just a way to sell your things and to reach people who never heard of you. Maybe there's someone who never even heard of moby for one; then they hear his music on an ad and he's/she's a fan.

And as for Britney Spears or Fabolous or any other big stars sppearing and performing in ads, maybe they like to do it or they like the product or they want their names on something. If i could appear on a can of pepsi . i'd do it. And Some people like watching their favorite artists on tv, whether in ads or talk shows or whatever. What i'm trying to get at is.. who cares? It doesn't make me look down on them just because of being in the ad.
 

goodorevil?

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Yes, I know Zep sold "Rock and Roll" but I'm trying to forget it. Also, I said "I" have limits to what I'd want to use. Others are free to destroy great music as they please. :p

You know something interesting about artists covering songs? That's when the licensing gets nuts. Lets assume someone used P Diddy's version of Kashmir for Coke. Coke would have to pay P. Diddy for that recording. And pay Zeppelin for the publishing rights. And since hip hop often uses samples in songs, they have to pay any artist for using parts of the songs sampled if any. Crazy.

Oh and you guys keep talking about Madonna, Britney, Missy Elliot, etc. My opinion is that if you're a pop music act that's mass marketed anyway, selling a little soda or jeans isn't that much more of a stretch. You're POP. You do stuff to make money. As long as you like the product, and don't alienate your fans, go for it. You think Britney's fans called her a sellout for doing pepsi ads?

At the very least the product should be appropriate for the song. Britney pop for soda pop? Sure. Michael Jackson for a line of kids clothes? No. In fact, call the police.
 
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