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The Who sells out… and so does Smash Mouth, and Aerosmith, and….

by Dr. Spin
October 21, 2002

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Commercial Success_Dr. Spin-The Who sells out… and so does Smash Mouth, and Aerosmith, and…. Dear Dr. Spin,

How is it possible that "Smash Mouth" would agree to have its hit "Walking on the Sun" used to sell cars? Did they forget what their song was about? Did the marketing agency that went after them listen to the whole song? Is Smash Mouth admitting that they are "all hyp-o-crits.”? Am I the only one who sees the bitter irony in it all?

Sincerely,
Former Smash Mouth Fan


Dear Former,

This disturbing trend seems to be growing rapidly. The first band to go “corporate” was the Rolling Stones. I don’t remember what company (I believe it sold cologne) convinced the Stones to allow corporate sponsorship of their tour, but ever since then, Rock has gone down the slippery slope of “selling out.”

It used to be bands like the Who and the Beach Boys, who haven’t recorded new material in twenty years, selling their backlog of hits for use in commercials, but people like Sheryl Crow, Sting and Moby have allowed their most recent recordings to be used in commercials. They claim that this gives their songs media exposure it doesn’t get on radio, allowing them to reach a wider audience. While this may hold true for Moby, Sting and certainly Sheryl Crow get enough exposure already; they don’t need any more.

This trend particularly bothers me with radio commercials. I think I’m listening to Sheryl Crow’s “Change,” but no, it’s an ad for Jiffy Lube. JIFFY LUBE!!! My favorite use of a Rock song in a commercial though, is the jeans company that uses CCR’ s “Fortunate Son” to sell their product. Notice they don’t use the chorus.

As for Smash Mouth, let me remind you of the song “All-Star,” has been used in the soundtracks of at least 3 movies I can think of right off the bat. Talk about “sell out.” And no, the marketing people don’t listen to the songs. Would any marketing person in their right mind use a song titled “Won’t Get Fooled Again” to market their new and improved car?

No, it’s all about the money now; corporations are willing to buy catchy jingles that people already know, and musicians are just looking at that fatter paycheck. Any musician who claims, “it’s all about the music,” is just bitter some corporation hasn’t asked him or her for one of his or her songs.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I hear an Aerosmith tu…@#%&!! Dodge commercial!!

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