Selling Out

Given the state of the music industry, most serious fans of music have grown to understand the need for artists to find alternative income streams. Whereas an ad spot or track licensed for some terrible ABC sit-com used to be the death-nail for artistic integrity and respect, many fans now turn a blind eye. I mean, what's a few tracks in an episode of that doctor show. No big deal. Our favorite artists have to pay the bills somehow, and checks from Warner or EMI sure aren't going to cut it.

I was a little surprised when Bob Dylan appeared in not only a Victoria's Secret ad, but also a Cadillac ad. But Bob has always done what Bob's wanted to do. Then came Wilco songs appearing in just about every VW ad that appeared on my television screen. I can understand a track or two, but licensing five or six songs from a new record seemed a bit much. Since I don't watch much television, I don't automatically see an image of a Jetta while listening to Sky Blue Sky. Similar to Bob, I let this slide.

This morning I visited the Wilco site for the first time in a few weeks. The first link on the homepage led me to a new Wilco photo contest. Before considering a potential entry, I glanced at the prizes: The first lucky winner would receive 1 pair of Jeff Tweedy-designed Nike ID running shoes. I had to re-read. And again. It's no secret that Nike has been at the forefront of the "sweatshop workplace" (the above photo is of a Nike factory in Vietnam). I've seen countless interviews with former CEO Phil Knight where he utterly ignored such crimes against humanity. Social responsibility was clearly nowhere to be found in a Nike employee handbook.

I obviously know nothing about Tweedy's partnership with Nike other than the line above. Maybe he's part of Nike's new campaign to be more responsible, and to actually treat their employees like human beings as opposed to utter waste. But in my eyes, Nike's despicable history is too long and beyond reproach. Tweedy's involvement with this narrow-minded and disgusting organization, is a disappointment, to say the least. Let's just hope that half of their next record isn't pre-licensed to Chevron.


hifispin said...

Dude, chill out. Anyone can make these shoes. You go on the NIKE site and design a pair of sneakers. Wilco deserves as much great press they can get. Wilco does a lot for Doctors without borders etc.

Selling Out is a stupid term anyway. Once you make money off a song you have written, you are pretty much a sell-out.