Monday, December 8, 2008

Sell Out or Smart Business...?

An article on Yahoo caught my attention today ... something Yahoo rarely does.

It was about rock stars "selling out" by allowing their songs and/or images to be used in commercials or in some other way degrading their music. A few of the culprits they named - Bob Seger, Pete Townshend, Bono, Axl Rose (ok .. I'm not so upset about that one) and, get this, John Lennon. John Lennon? Ok ... whatever.

Anyway, this has been long a topic of discussion in the music world.

I remember back in school when superstar violinist Gil Shaham decided to go on the Weather Channel and play Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Students at Juilliard were in an uproar - oh, to be young and idealistic. Bottom line, he had a recording to promote - and there were already many, many recordings of the Vivaldi out there. Whatcha gonna do? Well, in his case - his talent is so immense, he was able to come out the other side with his reputation intact. Thank goodness.

But, that was my first glimpse into the reality that it is the music business -- believe me, that is a hard lesson to learn.

Anyway, some Bon Jovi fans have been unhappy that Jon and Richie allowed the State of New Jersey to use "Who Says You Can't Go Home" as the music for a tourism ad and that there has been an onslaught of merchandise over the last couple of years - everything from the standard magnets and pins to wine, barware and a Christmas tree ornament. (For the record, the line of wines from Celebration Cellars is pretty good ... and the etched bottles are beautifully done ... c'mon you had to know I'd get the wine. But ... a trailer hitch? Not so sure about that one.)

Still and yet, you've gotta find a balance between keeping the fans happy, making a living and promoting the product -- umm...yes, its art, but its still a product. Ironically, a pianist friend and I were talking just the other day about the fact that Juilliard is, in all reality, a trade school. Wonder how the administration would feel about us saying that ...? P.S. Sometime soon I'll write a little about the bassoon ... since y'all are asking what the hell is that thing you play? ;-)

ANYWAY ... time to wrap this up. And what better way to wrap this up than with a picture of our boys "at work"?

It may be a job - but it looks like a damn great one.