Decent National Post article about Moby and his massive licensing of Play (which is still one of my favorite albums).
In allowing these corporate spots to push his music -- a bold and brilliant move that
meant he could conquer America -- Moby says he's been attacked by most interviewers
as a sell-out. His response: "The moment a musician charges money for a ticket for
someone to come in and see him, he has sold out. If they're going to use my music in an
advertisement, there is a big part of me that's very flattered by that. To be honest with
you, when the record first came out, having the music used in TV shows, movies and
advertisements was the only way we had of exposing it to people. Radio wasn't playing
the music. MTV and MuchMusic, they weren't really getting behind it. So we had no way
of reaching people except through advertisements and films."
What he says is true - I bought Play when it first came out, and I never really heard anything about it - it got great reviews but no radio or video play. Then it started becoming popular several months later and has now sold millions of copies and has been a top selling album for months. Generally speaking, this just doesn't happen - if an album doesn't become a best seller when it's released, it never will. The only other album that I can think of that had this sort of success was Ry Cooder's The Buena Vista Social Club, which basically seemed to sell itself on word of mouth. (Then it started being played in every restaurant in town simultaneously, but that's another story.)
Unfortunately, this also means that other artists with less artistic integrity and their corporate marketing managers will start using the same technique of "selling out without appearing to sell out" which worked so well for Moby.Posted by Bill Stilwell at September 09, 2000 12:00 AM