When Bill Hicks said something is wrong, he was always right and Bill said that musicians appearing in adverts was tantamount to selling their soul. In his words: âDo a commercial, youâre off the artistic roll call, every word you say is suspect, youâre a corporate whore. End of story.â
He had a point. That sort of thing just doesnât sit well with this whole idea of artistic integrity and most musicians that are bothered about having credibility will usually avoid selling their souls to capitalist devils.
It might be less outrageous for emerging or unknown bands, who will gamble on a quick burst of popularity on the back of their song appearing in an advert before shuffling back into relative obscurity, their fifteen minutes fully allocated.
But what excuses can we make for Faithless? Who fresh from signing an exclusive album distribution deal with Tesco, agreed to let Fiat use their single âFeelinâ Goodâ in an advert, while the video for that single features the new Fiat and lots of people dancing.
Predictably Faithless have hidden behind the excuse of needing to find new ways to promote music in the ever-changing digital age...which is a sound enough argument that receives an airing whenever thereâs some questionable actions from musicians trying to promote themselves. But itâs not one that really works for a group who have had 7 top ten singles and a couple of number one albums during the course of their 15 year career. How short of cash can they be?
Faithlessâ Maxi Jazz claims that they âhave to try new avenues, as Prince has, as Radiohead have and as we are trying to doâ - Except that Radiohead and Prince gave away things for free, without accepting an extra payday from Tesco and Fiat. Thereâs a world of difference, thereâs no logic to that argument at all. Sister Bliss says âI do believe we have a measure of artistic integrityâ. Yeah, none! None is a measure isnât it?
Basically there are no excuses for what Faithless did, it is simply money-grabbing from musicians that already have money, success and fame. An unbelievably crass gesture. Perhaps their protests of merely trying to promote their music would carry more weight if they donated fees to charity or do something that didnât stink of greed and self-interest. If they really need some extra money then go work at Tesco! At least then there would be some element of dignity and self-respect involved.
Maybe itâs not that important really, maybe all that matters is that people can buy music that they like, even if they can only get it in Tesco, maybe in the future Tesco stores will be filled with people in neon body paints, holding glow-sticks and baguettes aloft and dancing to Faithless. Maybe the people that complain about selling-out and artistic integrity are just living in worlds of grandiose fantasy, and should just relax and enjoy the music that makes their ears happy.
But obviously artistic integrity does matter to Faithless, otherwise they wouldnât have made such weak defences of their actions. They could just come out and say âyes, we just want to make as much money as we possibly can without any consideration for our credibilityâ and it would all be fine. Their honesty would at least make them less villainous.
But no, they make up laughable excuses to mask their motivation by greed. So for that thereâs another four letter word beginning with F that Faithless can familiarise themselves with.