Why you shouldn't laugh at shilling dinosaur rockers

by Jason Gross

5 October 2005


OK, my first reaction was to laugh at this: Its Only Rock Քn Roll Քn Marketing.  Yes, the former bad boys of rock will be appearing on the soap opera Days of Our Lives.  You can already hear the keyboards clacking away about how this again signals the death and insignificance of rock.  And don’t forget that McCartney is now shilling for Fidelity Investments and who can forget Dylan doing that Victoria’s Secret ad.

What stopped me laughing though were these quotes:

At this part of their career, itҕs hard to get them on the radio, Virgin Records vice president of marketing Randy Miller said Sept. 27 during an Advertising Week 2005 session. ӒThe average age of the band members is 63, the younger crowd is not their demo, and AOR [album-oriented rock] stations arent playing new releases. Their only hope at getting into the Top 40 is with successful marketing.Փ That means reaching out to the bands constituency, which is no longer teens but instead the aging baby boomers.
Granted that Mick, Paulie and Dylan aren’t exactly hurting for cash so that they HAVE to become corporate shills.  But since they’re still putting out records and touring, they obviously want their music to be heard and wouldn’t mind if someone else ponies up the piles of money that it takes to put on a world tour.  I have to admit that part of me is kinda crest-fallen to see these guys having to do this but as the article said, they’re not getting lots of love from the media otherwise, so they have to look elsewhere for support. 

It’s usually an automatic reaction to laugh off these dinosaurs as being way past their prime and only cutting a record every few years to fool themselves and die-hard fans that they’re still creative forces.  The difference though in these cases is that the records happen to be good (Paul), very good (Stones) and great (Dylan).  So if they’re laughed off as fogey’s by most everyone who was born after 1980, they have to look elsewhere for support.  That means reaching their core audience and getting the message out.  Since Clear Channel and assorted video channels don’t show much interest in them, they’re forced to be creative about finding ways to get the word out and get support.  Can’t say I’m thrilled about the pathes they chose but then again, I can’t blame them.

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