Are We Done Being Angry About Musicians Selling Their Songs? : All Songs Considered A generation ago, musicians were labeled "sellouts" if their songs appeared in TV ads. But not so much anymore.
NPR logo Are We Done Being Angry About Musicians Selling Their Songs?

Are We Done Being Angry About Musicians Selling Their Songs?

Iconic image from Apple's ad campaign for iPods. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

On our most recent episode of All Songs Considered I noted that Sharon Van Etten can be heard on a new ad for Corona beer, and that a number of my favorite musicians have sold their songs for commercials.

There was a time not too long ago when the relationship between musicians and product endorsements was much more contentious. Anyone who used their music to shill stuff on TV was labeled a "sellout." Fans were opposed to it and most bands were, too.

But the landscape has changed dramatically in the last ten years. Abysmal album sales have forced artists to look for new ways to finance their music, and TV ads have become a major part of the revenue stream. One musician told us he'll get offered as much as $50,000 to use one of his existing songs in an ad, enough money to fund his songwriting and recording for a year.

I don't see nearly as much outrage from fans of musicians who license songs to advertisements anymore. There's a growing understanding that this is just part of the reality for working musicians. But I still want to know — is there any part of it that bothers you? When you hear your favorite musician used in a TV ad, are you happy for them, or does it turn you off?

Fill out the form below. We'll share some of the results and make a playlist with our favorite songs in a later post.