For the first time, The Beastie Boys have allowed a song to appear in an ad. You’ll see why.

[This post features contributions from Gilles LeBlanc. -AC]

When Adam Yauch died in 2012, we were told that one of his wishes was that The Beastie Boys never licensed a song for a commercial. That wish appeared in his handwritten will. Any music created by him in whole or in part was to never been used in any form of advertising. If we go back to the song “Triple Trouble,” you’ll remember the line “You won’t see me out there advertising.” Anyone who tried to use Beasties music without permission found themselves at the wrong end of a cease-and-desist letter.

However, an exception has been made in this election year. The Yauch estate has apparently consented for “Sabotage” to be used by Joe Biden’s campaign. This ad focuses on the plight of live music venues during COVID-19, which focuses on a place in Ann Arbor, Michigan, called The Blind Pig.

The latest Biden/Harris 2020 1-minute ad shines a spotlight on the Blind Pig in Ann Arbour, Michigan, one of the thousands of music venues whose stages have been silent since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March. Co-owner Joe Malcoun makes no bones about his anger for Trump’s lack of any plan for how businesses like his are supposed to move forward – soundtracked to clips from Ann Arbour’s own Iggy & the Stooges, The Breeders, Pixies, and, yes, the Beastie Boys.

Check it out.

If anyone’s gonna set this Watergate straight, it’s Beastie Boys licensing (to ill) one of their songs for probably the only time ever.

While monumental, the Beasties are far from the only artists showing support for the growing problem of there potentially no longer being places for musicians to ply their trade in the future. Foo Fighters were among more than 30 other acts who were part of #SOSfest, SOS in this case standing for Save Our Stages. They played a half-hour acoustic set from an empty Troubadour in Los Angeles that you can relive below and donate to the National Independent Venue Association if you are so inclined.

We are anything but immune to the same economic situation up here. As they’ve detailed on their Facebook page, venues such as Mavricks Music Hall are in serious danger of never reopening. If you were given the opportunity to put together your own political message, who are some Canadian bands whose tunes you’d want to crank to 11 to lay into Doug Ford?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “For the first time, The Beastie Boys have allowed a song to appear in an ad. You’ll see why.

  • October 19, 2020 at 1:15 pm

    I won’t be surprised if Trump now starts playing a Beastie Boys song at his rallies.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.