A Trip Through The Kurt Vile/Bank Of America Controversy

By Tom Breihan / November 7, 2011

This isn’t the ’90s, and these days no indie bands are getting cards pulled for licensing songs to advertisers. In fact, it’s generally accepted that ad-licensing money is one of the few economic things keeping many indie bands afloat. But when it comes to the much-hated Bank Of America, the rules, it seems, change.

Last week, an extremely mild indie-rock Twitter beef went down when Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles heard Vile’s “Baby’s Arms” in a B of A commercial. In response, Stickles Tweeted, “Come on, Kurt Vile, yr a million times better than that. #crushcapitalism If it is even true! Can someone confirm? if it is real, then you need to get real, man. I thought you were, like, the best dude in music!”

On his own Twitter, Vile responded: “sorry titus. i did it to be like the carpenters.and to buy my daughter high end diapers. and to pay back my publishing advance. and because i never cared about that sorta thing. whoops,i even have a bank of america account.”

Stickles apologized, Vile’s manager Rennie Jaffe posted a message on Facebook defending Vile’s decision to get money via ad licensing, and the controversy, from where I’m sitting, dissipated. Business Insider has the full postmortem.

I can’t claim to know what economic and ethical decisions indie musicians should make. I can, however, say that high-end diapers are mostly a waste of money; the Target joints work just as well.