If you’re a legacy band, how do you get your music to stay relevant — and, more importantly, score lucrative commercial deals and make money — in the current lagging music climate? Pete Townshend thinks he’s figured out an answer. Townshend has agreed to let 15 classic Who songs get remixed by production agency Mophonics into something that’s more palatable to the modern consumer and listener. “There’s a good portion of the world, especially young people, who don’t know these songs and maybe wouldn’t appreciate them in the same aspect,” Mophonics creative director Josh Brochhausen said in a video interview with Ad Age. “So you sort of redress them a little bit to go, ‘Hey, here’s this great piece of art made so that you can sort of hear it too.'”
The goal of these remixes is to get played in commercial syncs, which is where a lot of the money in music is being made today. The first of these tracks pops up in a new advertisement for Freewheel, Cablevision’s new Wi-Fi only mobile service, that has just started airing. The ad uses a remixed version of Tommy track “I’m Free.” Here’s the ad:
Put aside any outrage you might have over defiling classic songs, and it’s a pretty shrewd business decision, one that’s sure to make the band a lot of money. And Townshend seems happy with the work being done: “A lot of work [went] into these, especially because the respect shown by the remixes to the original songs and song shapes. I know that makes remixing harder, and less fun for them, but a lot of fun for me,” he said to Ad Age.
Universal Music wants to release an album full of these remixes. Here’s a preview of a few of them: