Thanks for making 2013 a great year! We’re off refueling between December 25 and January 1 so we can take 2014 by storm. Happy holidays and see you on the 2nd!
About a month ago, toy company GoldieBlox created a viral hit with an ad featuring a fascinating Rube Goldberg setup and a parody song of the Beastie Boys’ “Girls” as the soundtrack. GoldieBlox makes toys marketed towards girls that break out of the stereotypically gendered ones normally seen in stores, encouraging the growth of women participating in science, technology, engineering and math careers (STEM). Their video ad’s success on YouTube and beyond came on the heels of a successful Kickstarter campaign and garnered them millions of eyeballs on their products and message.
However, if you go to their channel now, you’ll notice that the version of the video there is quite different from the one I linked to above. Why is that? Well, sometime around Thanksgiving, this happened:
When we made our parody version of your song, ‘Girls’, we did it with the best of intentions. We wanted to transform it into a powerful anthem for girls. Over the past week, parents have sent us pictures and videos of their kids singing with pride, building their own Rube Goldberg machines in their living rooms and declaring an interest in engineering. It’s been incredible to watch.
Our hearts sank last week when your lawyers called us with threats that we took very seriously. As a small company, we had no choice but to stand up for ourselves. We did so sincerely hoping we could come to a peaceful settlement with you.
We want you to know that when we posted the video, we were completely unaware that the late, great Adam Yauch had requested in his will that the Beastie Boys songs never be used in advertising. Although we believe our parody video falls under fair use, we would like to respect his wishes and yours.
The Beastie Boys had a problem with the parody of their song. This is actually when I first heard about it at Skepchick, one of my favorite blogs. This story has gone back and forth in the press, but GoldieBlox ended up filing a suit calling for injunctive relief. As far as my reading of Wikipedia goes and some other commentary I’ve read, this basically means they sued to get a court to say they weren’t doing anything wrong. The remaining Beastie Boys responded with an open letter of their own:
Like many of the millions of people who have seen your toy commercial “GoldieBlox, Rube Goldberg & the Beastie Boys,” we were very impressed by the creativity and the message behind your ad. We strongly support empowering young girls, breaking down gender stereotypes and igniting a passion for technology and engineering.
As creative as it is, make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads. When we tried to simply ask how and why our song “Girls” had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US.
Last year, the Beastie Boys lost member Adam Yauch to cancer. Later, Rolling Stone reported that his will stipulated that none of his music was to be used in “for advertising purposes.” It appears in the above that the remaining Beastie Boys were honoring this as well. The status of the suit is still pending and Fortune comments that it will likely never go to trial, but also goes on to talk about how damages might be determined if it did.
So how does the comedy web series Broad City come into play? Growing out of the vibrant Upright Citizen’s Brigade comedy troupe, the series gained a small following on YouTube. Amy Poehler is now set to be executive producer of the show at Comedy Central, where it will begin airing in January. And that’s how it came to my attention between segments of The Daily Show. It took me a second while watching the commercial for Broad City, but I quickly noticed the music: “Ch-Check It Out” by the Beastie Boys.
Now, it’s conceivable that this is actually a sketch for which the music was licensed which was then turned around for use as a commercial, but that would seem to still run afoul of both Adam Yauch’s will and the stated wishes of the Beastie Boys as reported in the press.
What do you think?
This is it, guys. The last Freeloader Friday of 2013. I’ve tried to make it extra special for you, complete with some big-time track premieres, some exclusive free downloads, and memorable music videos.
First up, Sam Roberts Band. He’s a huge sensation up in Canada and he’s about to hit the rest of the world by storm. Take a listen to his track premiere of “Shapeshifters” and the cool artwork for the upcoming album (to the left). Then the oh-so-soulful Charles Bradley takes on Black Sabbath’s “Changes” and gives it his unique spin. Honestly, we can’t get enough of the man, so if you’re not on this boat yet, hop on!
Next, I’ve combined two recent radio top picks with Thee Oh Sees and Reputante. These guys caught the ears of KCRW and KEXP, respectively, and for good reason! Then, two tracks from exciting new records coming up in the new year: Tony Molina‘s “Change My Ways” from a reissue through Slumberland and Blank Realm‘s “Back to the Flood,” followed by new highlights from Gates‘ and Dott‘s recent releases.
Kicking off the music video selection is The Glitch Mob‘s first single from their highly anticipated album, Love Death Immortality and this video is just the first of many highly visual, highly stimulating ones to come from this amazing trio. Then Brian Eno produced this video by Yacouba Sissoko Band from the very near and dear to our heart Africa Express Presents: Maison Des Jeunes. And closing our final Freeloader Friday is the epic Tanya Morgan who take on Brooklyn stereotypes.
Happy holidays, dear Freeloaders! See you next year!
Sam Roberts Band: “Shapeshifters” track premiere via USA Today
Lo-Fantasy out February 11 on Paper Bag Records
Charles Bradley: “Changes” track stream via SPIN
Victim of Love out now on Daptone Records
Thee Oh Sees: “What You Need” free track download via KCRW
Singles Collection Volume 3 out now on Castle Face Records
Reputante: “Deep Set Eyes” track stream via KEXP
Oceanside EP out now on Cult Records
Tony Molina: “Change My Ways” track stream via SPIN
Dissed and Dismissed (Re-issue) out March 25 on Slumberland Records
Blank Realm: “Back to the Flood” track stream via Pitchfork
Grassed Inn out January 13 on Fire Records
Gates: “They See Only Shadows” track stream via Pitchfork
You Are All You Have Left to Fear out now on Pure Noise Records
Dott: “Small Pony” free track download via Magnet
Swoon out now on Graveface
The Glitch Mob: “Can’t Kill Us” track and cymatic video premiere via YouTube
Love Death Immortality out February 11 on Glass Air Records
Yacouba Sissoko Band: “Chanson Denko Tapestry” music video premiere via Noisey
Africa Express Presents: Maison Des Jeunes out now on Transgressive Records
Tanya Morgan: “Worldmade” music video via Okayplayer
Rubber Souls out now on Imprint One80 Inc.
The Glitch Mob‘s fan base is notorious for having a voracious appetite for content. Since the late summer months, The Glitch Mob has slowly been releasing details regarding their upcoming album, Love Death Immortality. The picture really started to come into focus (quite literally) in early December, when the band began sharing small portions of their upcoming album’s cover art via their various social media properties. Fans displayed their excitement on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by attempting to put the puzzle pieces together, posting various images of what they thought the album art would ultimately look like. (My personal favorite is “Glitch Vader” concocted by fan Andrew J. Rambo.)
Much to the excitement of The Glitch Mob‘s fans, the L.A. triumvirate of edIT, Boreta and Ooah (Edward Ma, Justin Boreta and Josh Mayer) made the album available for pre-order this past Tuesday. As a special thanks to those who pre-order, the first single, “Can’t Kill Us,” can be downloaded right away. In addition, to build up a bit more buzz, the band released the first cymatic, highly visual, video for the song on YouTube. It’s worth a watch — and if you like what you see, look forward to more: there’s a video for each song off of the album.
The results of the pre-release have been remarkable and match the excitement we feel at The Orchard. The album reached #1 on iTunes’ Top 10 Electronic Albums in the United States. In fact, the release boosted their previous album, Drink The Sea, to #6, too. And that’s not all: in Canada, the album reached #2; in the UK, #9; in France, #6; in Germany, #3; in New Zealand, #8; and that’s just for the album. The single has also reached #1 in the U.S. for Top Ten Electronic Songs, and is making appearances in the charts across territories worldwide.
We’re not really surprised — The Glitch Mob has always set the bar high for other artists in the genre, and this album promises to be epic. Street date is February 11 on Glass Air Records. Now sit back and join us in watching their video over, and over, and over…