Rock Artists Embrace TV Commercial Sales

Randy Bachman

hide captionRandy Bachman admits he admits he didn't make a lot of money as a member of The Guess Who in the '70s. He retained the rights to later songs to sell for commercial use.

Greg Malo

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Once upon a time, it was uncool for rock artists to sell their songs for TV commercials. Veteran rocker Randy Bachman says those days are gone.

After six top 10 hits with The Guess Who, Bachman made sure to retain control over the publishing rights for his next venture, Bachman-Turner Overdrive. He recently got a windfall after signing the rights to "Takin' Care of Business" over for an Office Depot commercial.

Bachman has no regrets, calling the partnership a "perfect marriage" between a song and a product. The money isn't bad either, though he won't disclose how much he made from the deal. "You make more in one year with that commercial than you do in your entire lifetime of your band in the '70s with that song," he said.

The trend is creating strange bedfellows: Iggy Pop and Royal Caribbean, Bob Dylan for Victoria's Secret and the Beatles' song "Hello, Goodbye" in a new ad for Target.

But how far will musicians go in order to make a buck?

"I did turn down a very lucrative offer for "Takin' Care of Business" for a bathroom tissue... so I passed on that, and rightly so," said Bachman.

As Joel Rose of member station WHYY reports in a two-part series, rock artists are cashing in like never before and the industry stigma about "selling out" is fading fast.

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