what would noam do?
galang, gal: eat a food
as you all know, MIA has licensed, "galang"--the track that refuses to die (and refuses to hit, innit?)--to a honda commercial. already the cries of sellout vs. pragmatist echo 'cross the blogalog. about the deal, ms.arulpragasam allegedly had something like this to say at her recent boston concert appearance:
"Sorry to kill the party ... Two days ago, I had a fight with a friend because I sold 'Galang' to Honda ... Sometimes I think I shouldn't have done it. Maybe you guys don't give a shit ... But I hope I still have your support ... I'm a first generation immigrant, how else am I gonna make money so I can get it the people who need it? ... This is still my song. It doesn't belong to Honda."now, having still failed to weigh in on the great MIAsma (i'm ambivalent, natch), i'm afraid i don't have any kind of penetrating insight to offer on this latest move. obviously, this is a sticky, tricky issue, and various artists/entertainers have made compelling arguments for accepting or rejecting the advances of corporate money. i don't know much about honda, but i do know that they make decent, small cars (i drive one). moreover, i don't know much about MIA, but i know she makes decent, big chunes (i play some).
at any rate, i bring this up because i recently heard from a friend of mine who found himself in a similar position and decided to accept a licensing deal with a TV show that, though i haven't seen it, sounds like a gas.
noam weinstein, a fellow cambridge native and an acquaintance from high-school and college (but not, you'll note, a first-generation immigrant), announced to his mailing list last week that one could hear his music in this week's episode of showtime's weeds. noam's not only a great songwriter and performer, he's also hilarious, so, rather than paraphrasing, allow me to quote his own rationale for the decision:
Friends,now although noam can be as slippery as his lampooning brethren when it comes to playing with the truth, it seems to me that there's something inherently easier about accepting a deal with a show that you approve of than with a corporation that you might inherently distrust (not to forget that showtime is, of course, a corporate entity, or at least part of one). at any rate, i don't see any easy way out of this debate, but i guess that making these decisions according to which entities we admire and trust(?) and which we revile and suspect is at least some way forward.
When Tyler Wood and I released our album 'Probably Human' last year, we were quickly inundated with licensing offers from a variety of organizations and media outlets that felt it would suit their broadcast needs. Unfortunately, few of those needs were of a sort that Tyler and I felt comfortable aiding. Sure, milk helps strengthen the bones, but at what cost? Yes, it's an admirable goal to explain how branches of the government work, but for thirty boring minutes? And who are we to say if pretty ladies smell nice?
After a year of declining lucrative offers of this sort, we were finally approached by a cause that we're not only comfortable supporting, but proud to support. So this coming Monday, a one-minute clip from the song 'I Can Hurt People' will be played in the background during the final scene of Showtime's 10pm program 'Weeds,' about a suburban mother who deals marijuana.
P.S. I think the episode will also air Wednesday and Friday, assuming those are just different names for Monday.
so in the absence of any real analysis on my part, let me flip it on you junichi-style (not to imply that junichi's posts are devoid of analysis--far from it):
if you were in the position to license your music/art/media for a commercial, television network/show, etc., which would you summarily reject and which would you endorse without hesitation?