Republican Governor Charlie Crist is using a Talking Heads song in an ad for his Senate campaign without permission. So David Byrne is suing his ass. Here’s why:
The general public might also think I simply license the use of my songs to anyone who will pay the going rate, but that’s not true either, as I have never licensed a song for use in an ad. I do license songs to commercial films and TV shows (if they pay the going rate), and to dance companies and student filmmakers mostly for free. But not to ads.
I’m a bit of a throwback that way, as I still believe songs occasionally mean something to people — they obviously mean something personal to the writer, and often to the listener as well. A personal and social meaning is diluted when that same song is used to sell a product (or a politician).
As anachronistic as these ideas seem nowadays, I’m happy there are still some artists who refuse to allow their songs—especially older, established songs—to be used in ads. I know, I know. I’ve heard it all. Ad nauseum. But still. Kudos to the artists who can afford to say no.