Alternate post title: Have You Driven A Ford While Listening To Santogold Lately? You know where this is going. There’s been Buds and there’s been Chucks, but now Santogold’s throwing tunes to Ford. Which might sound shocking for a second, until you realize that now Santogold can buy herself some food. And food’s great, don’t lie. People should eat, at least that’s my position. Anyway Eliza tipped us off after noticing a dab of “L.E.S. Artistes” in the new spot for the Ford Flex, and Eliza has very good ears: Ford’s ad is soundtracked with the “L.E.S.” Squeak E. Clean remix. Check it.
Santi’s wasting no time. You know why? Because selling records doesn’t make money, and licensing does. And unlike Trent…
Now I have to sell T-shirts, or I have to choose which whorish association is the least stinky. I don’t really want to be on the side of a bus or in a BlackBerry ad hawking some product that sucks just so I can get my record out. I want to maintain some dignity and self-respect in the process, if that’s possible these days.
…Santogold’s totally OK with that. So is Kevin Barnes, but mostly because the Barnsian view maintains that “Selling Out Isn’t Possible.” But whether or not you begrudge these artists’ turning a dime on their music, at least credit them for bringing the rest of us into the dialog. Are we even owed explanations? Regardless it does foster a bond, or at least offer a bridge to sympathizing with their position. And it helps to, ya know, respect the artist behind the art. So let’s see if this works for you: This this NYMag feature on Santi has been linked up elsewhere, but it is germane:
[Santogold]‘s written tracks for Ashlee Simpson; had her music piped over scenes in Grey’s Anatomy; and done commercials for Bud Light Lime and Converse (that one was with Julian Casablancas of the Strokes). And when she spoke to me, she said she might do a project with Ford (a deal her publicist later said never materialized). [EDITOR'S NOTE: Ha.] It’s the kind of market-savvy, Me-generation career trajectory that would likely make anyone who still frequents record stores recoil in disgust–and White couldn’t care less.
“It’s a little weird, but at the same time, let’s say I make a deal with Target–knowing how many people shop at Target? It’s not like I’m writing a song about Target. It’s more like–Target’s onboard to help me sell records? That’s great.”
And as she points out, it’s just the way the industry works these days. “Everybody wants you to sell a lot of records, but it’s not considered a failure if you don’t. The record labels know that most of the money nowadays is made in licensing. On MTV, their whole approach is to put your songs in their programming now–they’re even [looking into] some new technology, like TiVo, that will record the music played on a show and then give you the option to purchase it. So where before it might have been, ‘Oh, you’re gonna sell out?,’ now it’s how we make our money.”
In other words: Santogold can’t buy a house with indie hipster cred.