Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: The Concept of Selling Out

Back in the day, you almost never heard well-known songs in TV commercials.  But then in the 80s, things began to change. 

The turning point was a Nike commercial in March 1987 that used the original version of the Beatles’ “Revolution.”  People were aghast, but after that campaign, there was no going back.  A new industry was created of companies whose sole purpose was to negotiate through the legalities of using a well-known song in a commercial campaign. 

Today, using a song to sell your product or service is pretty much the norm.  In the age of cratering music sales, licensing songs has become an extremely important alternate source of revenue.

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.

Alan Cross has 37821 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “Ongoing History Daily: The Concept of Selling Out

  • Back in 1987, though, The Beatles did not give Nike permission to use “Revolution” in their commercials, so they sued (and settled out of court later). Now, if you used “Rock and Roll” from Led Zeppelin that was used to advertise Cadillac in 2000, that’s a different story.


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