Saturday, November 1, 2003

When the music's over ...
Pretty good article here from the Toronto Star via Common Dreams about rock stars selling their songs for ads: ["The Day the Music Died"]. However, Dudas missed a few key points.
The first and most blatant is the issue of whether The Doors sold their music for ads. They did, selling "Light my fire" to Buick in 1969 for the GSX model ["1970 Buick GSX"]. Doors' guitarist Robby Kreiger – who wrote the song – approved its sale, as noted in a pivotal scene in Oliver Stone's film "The Doors." A quick Google search by Dudas would have revealed this all important point and shown that Kreiger is a bit of a hypocrite. Don’t get me wrong – I am a huge Doors fan. But they did sell one of their songs. Have any songs been sold since? Not that I know of.
Also missing from the article is the fact that "Start me up," the Rolling Stones song, was also used by Ford last year in some sort of cross pollination deal since Ford sponsored the Stones' 40 Licks tour. I love the Stones' music but this double use is really cashing in and I can see how some people would be offended.
The author also seemed to miss the starting point of this trend: The Nissan ads. While songs have always been used in commercials – Coke introduced their orange soda Sunkist with the Beach Boys' "Good vibrations" in the late 1970s, The Doors example even earlier, etc., it was the Nissan ads of the past decade that really broke open the door. To a lesser extent – but just as influential – were the VW ads for the Jetta.
But, I wonder how much these tunes help to affect sales. Do people really go out and buy a Ford or Buick because they hear a song? Sure, American consumers can be a bit lightheaded, and that is being kind. Remember those musical fish heads a couple of years ago? But who really goes out and dumps $40 grand into an Escalade because they hear "Been a long time since a rock 'n rolled, dant dan, dant dan, dan dant ...” on the tube?
Lastly, I am not a purist about advertising. I don't believe like some that all advertising should be discontinued because it is too influential on the consumer. As the saying goes, a fool and his money are soon parted. And, I earn my living from a business that can't survive without advertising. This blog is free because of the ads that run at the top of the page. And some ads are funny, moving, and yeah, pay the bills for struggling musicians. VW has been very kind to musicians I know. Master Cylinder – the former guitarist for The MantaRays and The Sunspots, a Boston guy – wrote the music for the groundbreaking Jetta ad. The music was later licensed to Jordan's Furniture [yeah, those two dudes Barry and Elliot]. Another band, the Apples in Stereo, is able to survive doing nothing but music because of another VW ad. The $50,000 they received was used to buy their house in Colorado, according to the NYT. So, it isn't all bad. I understand the frustration of some with the current state of the music industry and especially the overblown baby boomer rockers cashing in with ads and 401(k) tours with rip-off ticket prices. But jeez, everybody has to eat. If you don't like the ads, shut the TV off. If you don't want to pay $136 to see KISS and Aerosmith at the Verizon Center in Manchester, don't go. Instead, put on your black light, put "Rocks" on the turntable, put the headphones on, light up your bong or uncap your beer, and relax already.

Political notes
It was only a matter of time ... "Kerry blasts Dean over NRA backing". Typical lack of understanding about gun ownership. Owning semi-automatic has nothing to do with hunting, it has to do with preserving liberty: "... being necessary to the security of a free State ..." Plus, if Dean is the nominee, he could gain southern and Midwestern votes because he isn't a Socialist on the gun issue.
"Gephardt to skip Hub debate for Iowa campaigning". Hmm, this is interesting. I guess Dean's position in Iowa is a little too snug for Gephardt's comfort.
Bush stumps in Ohio ["Bush stumps at Ohio factory"] but "Columbus has lost 16,000 jobs since President Bush took office – almost 2% of the city’s entire workforce." - Bureau of Labor Statistics, Metropolitan Report, 10/29/03.
If this happens, it will be huge: "Dean May Get Union's Blessing". On the flip side, it wasn't a likely Gephardt endorsement since the SEIU is mainly government workers who tend to be more liberal than blue collar trade unions, the bulk of Gephardt's endorsements. The California Teachers Association also endorsed Dean, again, a very liberal union.
Kucinich gets good press in The Nation: "Who's Afraid of Dennis Kucinich?".
National Greens moving forward on "serious" run: "State Green Parties Plan Strategies for the 2004 Presidential Race".

No comments: