You Ask Me; I Ask You

It’s time once again for Ask Roger Anything, this time with a twist. You get to ask me whatever, i.e., anything you want, and I have to answer. But I also am offering to pose questions to you to post on YOUR blog.

Here’s one I got actually a month ago:

Thought of you as the only person with whom I could have a discussion about this — it seems that more and more musicians are “selling out” and allowing their recognizable tunes to be attached to some product or other. In this week alone, I’ve heard REM selling something I don’t remember, which doesn’t seem to fit with everything I’ve read about Michael Stipe. But it really came home to me last evening when I heard the Corrs’ “At Your Side” (from “In Blue,” which admittedly is a little on the poppy side and not nearly as Irish as I would like) hawking the AARP!!!!

Just had to bring this to your attention, if it hasn’t been already.
What’s your opinion?

I replied: The evil facts are that it’s increasingly difficult to be in the traditional marketplace. Thus, Moby sells most of the songs on his Play album, Macca is sold by a coffee company, JT is sold by a greeting card company, your man Bruuuuce was out there hawking some of his last albums on the Today show. [The Rising in 2002, and Magic this coming Friday.]
The thing specifically about the Corrs is that I don’t know exactly how much control they have over their product. If they did “sell out”, it’d be a good group to sell out to, since it’s those 45-64 year olds who are still actually buying CDs in good numbers.

I found this article in Metroland that also responds to the point:
There’s no such thing as selling out, says Duff McKagan of rock supergroup Velvet Revolver. “It gets harder and harder and harder for a rock group to make a living.”
…McKagan points out, “Nobody is selling records like they used to. Even [Velvet Revolver’s 2004 debut] Contraband sold only 3 million albums. [In the early ’90s Guns [‘N’ Roses] and [Stone Temple Pilots] and Nirvana and Pearl Jam [were selling 8, 9, 10 million. Three million would have been only OK…
the newfound attitude towards “selling out”, particularly among rock acts, is the product of this music-industry sea change. He cites licensing opportunities like commercials, movies and ringtones as alternative methods to make money off of tunes…”Since Iggy Pop did it, it’s all OK, cause he’s the dude,” says Kagan. “God bless him, cause he hadn’t made any money…

Now, here’s the contract: if you give me questions, I promise to answer them within a fortnight, and to let you know that I did. If I give YOU questions, you promise to answer them in a fortnight, and to let me know that you did.

So, ASK me, OK?
Snakes on a plane.
Fred Hembeck linked to this story, which really got to me.


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