Sunday, January 12, 2003

congrats to the walkmen for getting "we've been had" placed in a saturn ad. i was over at their message board, and this guy thought it wrong to sell their tune to a car company:
Name: Andy
E-mail address:
Comments: I gotta be honest. I've been a pretty big advocate of The Walkmen for close to a year now but yesterday as I was sitting at the computer, I heard a familiar piano lick coming from the TV in the other room. My friend and I damn near knocked over our chairs scrambling to the television. "We've Been Had" on a goddamned car commercial!? I'm not one of those elitist music fans who turns their back on a band once they make it big and there's nothing wrong with wanting exposure so as to get your music out to people... but car commercials? If only the band knew how much their music means to some people, I doubt they'd sell it off to some evil corporation. What was it? The money? Exposure? Free cars? I'm still a fan but I know some friends of mine, who, as a result of this, aren't.Monday, January 13th 2003 - 06:05:18 AM

and i disagreed. my response ended up being long, with pretty good grammar, so i figured I'd post it here, too:
'corporate is the new indie'

do you ever buy major label music? the majors right now are all, for the most part bits of large evil multinationals and you're payin their bills. do you ever listen to the radio anywhere on the dial to the right of say 92 FM? clear channel owns all those radio stations, for the most part, and they are not really a mom and pop either. mtv is a tentacle of viacom, every band on there is making money for a evil capitalist behemoth.

tv commercials are one of the few avenues left these days available to artists that are trying to operate independently and still have their music heard by as many people as possible. radio and mtv are on lockdown by the majors through the payola system that's been coming to light in the past year or two and other kickbacks and favors between stations and labels. getting a song placed in a commercial, on the other hand, allows a band to get paid for their music, as opposed to paying for promotion, and in the long run will give them more freedom to operate independently of the evil corporations you're talking about. they get the exposure reserved in today's system for major label artists without signing some shitty contract that will leave them broke and forgotten if they sell less than a million copies. they get a nice chunk of change to keep them from needing to sign aforementioned shitty contract. this commercial just might help them remain independent and avoid major label pressure to change the music you hold so dear in search of a pop hit.

i understand the concern, as a listener, about keeping control of the context in which you experience a particular piece of art, and the duty you feel an artist has to protect that context for you. this is not something I am trying to brush aside, but i think that this saturn commercial is, if you don't like it, no worse than a video that you don't particularly dig. protect the context yourself if it is that important to you. close your eyes and cover your ears.

i think it's actually kind of a cool commercial: kinda clever, used the song well, actually communicates to a degree with the lyrics of the song (especially the ones that aren't used in the spot, interestingly enough). it doesn't ruin the song for me.

as a totally unrelated sidenote i thought that last years VW ad where the guy was rushing to stop a wedding was one of the most beautiful and well made 30 seconds of film/tv from the whole year.
am i wrong about this? i could be missing something, or maybe i've just got their back because they're my friends and I'm driving their tour bus again at the end of the month, but i doubt it. anyway let me know what you think.

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