Friday, November 02, 2007

Monetizing Icons

It doesn't bode well with me that a lot of the rock bands listened to (and still listen to) have their music or their image manipulated by big business.

Case in point, a soundclip from the new Smashing Pumpkins in a Ford Focus commercial:

That kind of thing didn't happen in the 1990s. It was one thing to "sell out" (i.e., get a major record deal) but it was almost unheard of to be an obvious part of a corporate campaign.

I guess it all went downhill when a thing called Woodstock 99 happened.

While part of me wants to license the Society's music and thus reap some rewards from doing so, there are limits to do that, in my opinion. Licensing music to movies is okay in my book...depending on the movie. TV...maybe. But Ford automobiles? Ford. Fix or Repair Daily. That brand. It's like that country music popstar Toby Keith's "I'm a Ford truck man" song. Maybe that appeals to a certain demographic, but to me - that's totally what a pitchman - and a non-artist - would do. It's like having your music in a Nike or McDonald's commercial. It sort of devalues any art originally intended. It aligns something bright and optimistic with an exploitative corporate machine.

U2 hyping the iPod a couple of years ago was just as uncool, too.

Don't get me started on those Kurt Cobain website ads that show up from time to time on MySpace. I'm sure every molecule that used to be part of Cobain turns over in disgust every time that ad appears.

Most of the blame goes to the record companies, obviously. They make the money, which doesn't really trickle down to the artists. I guess that's the part that really doesn't bode so well with me.

And yes, I do realize we've monetized this blog to attempt to pay the bills. But we're not icons...idealized and put on a higher plane of behavior.

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