Rolling Stone: How Capitalism Affects Music

Good Essays
Charles Phillips
Professor Kenneth Habib
March 6, 2017
Moss Growing on a Rolling Stone: How Capitalism Affects Music In the Rolling Stone’s widely popular hit, “Start Me Up,” lead singer Mick Jagger states “You can start me up/ You can start me up I'll never stop/I've been running hot/You got me just about to blow my top”. When listening to this song, does one hear the ravings of a man in love with a woman, or the beginning of an ad for Microsoft Windows ’95? Recently, popular artists are releasing more music with the intent of selling out to big corporations. The Rolling Stones are an early example of this form of music production when they sold “Start Me Up” to Microsoft for $3 million. This song was exploited for the sake
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In his article “Did Stones Sell Their Music Short?,” in Billboard, Timothy White argues that “[i]f the artist actually appreciates and uses the product, then such ringing musical endorsements are concordant with the desired perceptions of impressionable consumer.” White exemplifies that if the artist actively “appreciates and uses the product,” then it is justifiable to write a song about it. If an artist wrote a song about a product that he or she did not like to use, then that artist is utilizing that music for the sole purpose of making money. Music in its purest form should be created for the enjoyment of the band’s fans, not for the lone purpose of making money through advertising products. To substantiate his claim, White provides an excerpt from an interview with Collective Soul singer, Ed Roland. Roland states: “’A computer company offered us a million dollars to use ‘Shine,’ but the song wasn’t written for or about a computer, so that was out of the question’.” White uses this quote to convey that true artists would not sell out their music to companies if the subject matters of each song had nothing to do with the commercial. Roland agrees that it is reasonable for a musician to sell their music to a mass marketer, as long as the song is in agreement with the product, but he does not feel that his artwork…show more content…
For example, I have seen many commercials featuring bands I recognize, often with catchy jingles or lyrics. However, I rarely find myself listening to the actual content of the lyrics. I was once watching a commercial for a microwaveable burrito company, in which Bon Jovi’s “Wanted: Dead or Alive” played. This song contains lyrics about gritty cowboys from the Midwest, not about a simple microwaveable burrito. Since these two subject matters are completely different, I was left with more confusion than with a craving for a burrito. If the company, for example, did a spin-off of “Dead or Alive,” including lyrics about a burrito, this would be more appealing to consumers as the two subjects are in agreement. My friends and I thought that Bon Jovi’s music had a deeper purpose as opposed to being written just to be sold off to a burrito company. This resulted in a loss of respect for the band in the eyes of me and my peers. Like Bon Jovi’s situation, YouTube star Tay Zonday who had his song “Chocolate Rain” go viral on the web, changed his song so that it could comply to a Dr. Pepper’s commercial . Zonday’s immediate stardom sparked many businesses to try to take his song. The winner of the rights to his song had Zonday change his lyrics in order to fit in with the Dr. Pepper theme. This corporate scheme turned an original piece into a song that conformed with what the
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