Posted in music on December 26, 2007

Indie Rock vs Camel

We, the undersigned independent record labels, wish to share our indignation regarding Rolling Stone’s November 15th pull out editorial, which featured the names of our artists in conjunction with an ad for Camel cigarettes. This editorial cartoon gives every impression of being part and parcel of the advertisement wrapped around it.

The use of an artist’s name to promote a brand or product should be done only with the artist’s explicit consent, something that was neither solicited nor obtained from the labels or bands.

When questioned, Rolling Stone has referred to the “Indie Rock Universe” pull out section as an “editorial”, but it hardly seems accidental that this editorial content is wrapped in a giant ad from R.J. Reynolds announcing their support for independent artists and labels. The idea that this was a coincidence in any way seems dubious at best. There are two other pull out sections in this same issue of Rolling Stone. Both are wrapped in advertising, but neither of these ads could be construed as part of the editorial content within.

Many of the bands named, and the labels that represent them, are very unhappy with the implication that they have any involvement with R.J. Reynolds and Camel cigarettes. We ask that Rolling Stone apologize for blurring the line between editorial and advertisement, and in doing so, implying that the bands named support the product being advertised.

Sincerely, Kill Rock Stars, Touch and Go, Skin Graft, Lovepump United, Lucky Madison, 5RC, Audio Dregs, and Fryk Beat.

That letter was sent to me on December 13th. "The feature appeared in a 40th anniversary edition of Rolling Stone magazine published Nov. 15." On December 20th, Xiu Xiu and Fucked Up filed a class action suit against Camel and Rolling Stone.

On a related note, someone got me the first 40 years of Rolling Stone on DVD for Christmas. I won't complain about that. A picture of it, and the whole list of bands that Rolling Stone and Camel put in the questionable ad, below....

Rolling Stone

Bands in Camel/Rolling Stone’s “Indie Rock Universe” ad:

!!!
1990s
A Place to Bury Strangers
A Silver Mt. Zion
Against Me!
AIDS Wolf
Andrew Bird
Animal Collective
Antony and the Johnsons
Arcade Fire
Architecture in Helsinki
Arctic Monkeys
Art Brut
Babyshambles
Band of Horses
Bat For Lashes
Beirut
Belle and Sebastian
Biffy Clyro
Bjork
Black Dice
Black Mountain
Bloc Party
Blonde Redhead
Boards of Canada
Bonde de Role
Boredoms
Boris
Bright Eyes
Brightblack Morning Light
Bucks and Gallants
Built to Spill
Cat Power
Celebration
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!
Coco Rosie
Comets on Fire
CSS
Daft Punk
David Pajo
Dean and Britta
Death Cab for Cutie
Deerhoof
Devendra Banhart
DeVotchka
Diplo
Dirty Pretty Things
Dirty Projectors
DJ Mehdi
Dr. Dog
Dungen
Ellen Allien and Apparat
Emily Jane White
Emma Pollack
Erase Errata
Explosions in the Sky
Fall Out Boy
Feist
Fields
Franz Ferdinand
Frog Eyes
Fucked Up
Fugazi
Ghostland Observatory
Girl Talk
Godspeed You Black Emperor!
Gogol Bordello
Grizzly Bear
Guided by Voices
Guitar Wolf
Gym Class heroes
Handsome Furs
High on Fire
Home Blitz
Hot Chip
Husker Du
Inferno Friendship Society
Interpol
Iron and Wine
Jans Lekman
Japanther
Jesu
Joanna Newsom
Jose Gonzalez
Joy Division
Junior Boys
Justice
Kaiser Chiefs
Klaxons
Last Days of May
Laura Veirs
Lavender Diamond
LCD Soundsystem
Le Tigre
Les Savy Fav
Liars
Lightning Bolt
Little Claw
Low
M. Ward
M.I.A.
Mates of State
Matmos
Minus the Bear
Modest Mouse
Mogwai
Mountain Goats
Mum
My Chemical Romance
My Morning Jacket
Neutral Milk Hotel
New Pornographers
New Young Pony Club
Nirvana
Oakley Hall
Octopus Project
Of Montreal
Panda Bear
Panic! at the Disco
Parts and Labor
Pavement
Peter and the Wolves
Pissed Jeans
Pixies
PJ Harvey
Plain White T’s
Prinzhorn Dance School
Psapp
Radiohead
Ratatat
Ryan Adams
Scout Niblett
Sea Wolf
Shitdisco
Sigur Ros
Simian Mobile Disco
Sleater-Kinney
Sonic Youth
Sons and Daughters
Spoon
St. Vincent
Stephen Malkmus
Sufjan Stevens
Ted Leo
The Cribs
The Cure
The Decemberists
The Fiery Furnaces
The Fratellis
The Futureheads
The Go! Team
The Gossip
The Hold Steady
The Killers
The Magik Markers
The National
The Nightwatchmen
The Ponys
The Rapture
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
The Rogers Sisters
The Shins
The Smiths
The Stills
The Strokes
The Thermals
The Thrills
The USA Is a Monster
The World
TV on the Radio
Tyvek
Vampire Weekend
We Are Wolves
White Denim
White Magic
White Stripes
Wilco
Will Oldham
Wolf Eyes
Wolf Parade
Wolfmother
Xiu Xiu
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Yo La Tengo
Keep checking the Daily Swarm for the latest.

---

      

Comments (20)

Yeah! Great post. I'd be suing too. That'd be like a model expose wrapped around a strip club ad! I'd stop reading RS except that I never really liked it. Thanks from another brooklyn vegan.

Posted by Daniel | December 26, 2007 5:02 AM

Another blurred line between advertising and content in under a month! Remember last month when XLR8R ran post cards of Team Robespierre, Dan Deacon, Ruins and WZT Hearts. Supposedly they were editorial pull out post cards yet they had huge Greyhound logo's on one side. Of course none of the bands knew about it.

Posted by Mike House | December 27, 2007 3:44 AM

Great article!! Absolutely right!

Posted by VIRV.TV | December 27, 2007 7:04 AM

Camel is just re-appropriating culture to make a buck the same way artists re-appropriate corporate culture to make a buck. If you want your sampling and Warhol soup cans or youtube mash ups and what have you, you're going to need to allow a corporation the same artistic freedoms to express themselves. Camel is just trying to stay current with the new underground that, for example, cares more about whether their artists make savvy career moves than integrity.

Define advertisement.

Posted by Anonymous | December 27, 2007 1:40 PM

Uh, an advertisement is a paid plug for a product, in this case a carcinogenic product. Sue the bastards.

Posted by David | December 27, 2007 2:49 PM

My band is one of those mentioned (Bucks & Gallants), and I wrote a bit about it here:

http://www.darrenhoyt.com/2007/12/19/accidental-shills/

Hard to believe Camel ever thought they'd get away with this, or that Rolling Stone wasn't at least partially cognizant.

Posted by Darren | December 27, 2007 8:27 PM

"If you want your sampling and Warhol soup cans or youtube mash ups and what have you, you're going to need to allow a corporation the same artistic freedoms to express themselves."

Uh, last I checked corporations were still mercilessly suing people who did these things and using their influence (read: money) to prevent legal challenges by average artists and musicians. You can't use the "free market works both ways" argument if the system is inherently unfair and assures that it doesn't.

The *point* of culture jamming is to question the establishment and make an artistic statement- Camel is just misappropriating something and making it misleading for profit. When Warhol draws a soup can, he puts something people thought of in one context into another, producing an effect that intrigues the mind.

Scattering a bunch of band names in a shittily drawn ad with shittily misguided intentions to make it look as if they endorse your shitty cancer-causing product is not art, it's capitalism, and it's against the law. (By the way, where are all the artists' rights people who always come out on the BV threads for file-sharing on this one?)

Totally disingenuous argument. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Posted by Anonymous | December 27, 2007 9:14 PM

I rarely read Rolling Stone, often years between flip-throughs, but I actually opened this issue up, flipped it open, and saw this whole Universe of Indie thing and didn't even know it was an ad. I just thought it was the biggest piece of crap journalism I'd ever seen, and crass pandering to boot. made me a little sick.

this stuff makes me tired.

Posted by slim | December 29, 2007 10:23 AM

Some of those bands, especially ones like Bucks & Gallants, should be happy they are getting exposure in a national magazine. Most of them are not good enough to deserve it.

Posted by Anonymous | December 29, 2007 10:52 AM

"it's capitalism"

Uh, no it isn't. Capitalism is an economic system that promotes individual rights by making the means of production rather than by the state. The state under capitalism only has the ability to protect individual rights with a military to protect individuals from foreign invasion, a police force to protect individuals from domestic abuse, and a court system to protect individuals from fraud. under capitalism, private ownership may refer to something that is collectivly owned by a community of individuals i.e. a corporation or a band. Under capitalism the rights to be protected in this case belong to the bands.

Posted by anon | December 29, 2007 11:11 AM

I think the funniest part is that Xiu Xiu, MIA and Ted Leo were all put on the same planet....wooo those silly political bands, they're all the same....

Posted by Anonymous | December 29, 2007 11:51 AM

"Uh, no it isn't. Capitalism is an economic system that promotes individual rights by making the means of production rather than by the state."

hey ayn rand, every capitalist society that has ever existed has proven that the distinction you're trying to draw here doesn't exist in reality. there is no such thing as a "free market."

there is no way camel or rolling stone or greyhound would have done something so arrogantly stupid if they didn't assume their socially and economically superior positions would guarantee them some safety. in this case, they're probably going to settle for some marginal amount while camel continues to brand every "indie rock" venue from los angeles to new york with their logo and rolling stone continues to write irrelevant music criticism.

have fun voting for ron paul, my economics undergrad friend.

Posted by Anonymous | December 29, 2007 6:21 PM

no need for sarcasm and or assumptions about my voting habits there karl Marx. I don't vote because I don't feel that I need a leader. Also, I'm not an economic undergrad. But it sounds like maybe you should take few courses in economics and then you'd realize that a free market capitalist society has never existed and the united states has a mixed economy. Also, I'm not really that much of a Rand fan. I mostly follow the economic brilliance of Mises so you can take your assumptions and shove them.

Posted by anon | December 29, 2007 8:07 PM

that list could have been taken directly from my ipod. god i'm hip.

Posted by slick rick | January 2, 2008 4:29 PM

"Remember last month when XLR8R ran post cards of Team Robespierre, Dan Deacon, Ruins and WZT Hearts. Supposedly they were editorial pull out post cards yet they had huge Greyhound logo's on one side. Of course none of the bands knew about it."

oh weird, I saw those, and was wondering about that.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2008 5:29 PM

Wow, very interesting idea I must say. I've never thought about this ever before. I really love it.

Posted by Cigars | July 17, 2008 8:53 AM

Anon @ 12/29/07 8:07 said, " I don't vote because I don't feel that I need a leader."

Ha! Well guess what, dumb-ass - you get a lot more than one, whether you vote or not, and society ain't just about YOU - we all suffer the benefits and consequences. Put that in your bong and smoke it.

Posted by Anonymous | July 17, 2008 9:17 AM

"Ha! Well guess what, dumb-ass - you get a lot more than one, whether you vote or not, and society ain't just about YOU - we all suffer the benefits and consequences. Put that in your bong and smoke it."

well you know what asshole? it's a good thing that I'M not all about society. i'd rather snort off your mother's ass by the way. yes, i went straight for the mom insult.

Posted by Anonymous | August 30, 2008 1:35 PM

I'd like actually be more a part of this blog and know what great things you have to offer me...I think if you write more original blogs like this you can improve the website.

Posted by Internet Service Provider | December 14, 2010 5:42 PM

there is a seriously problem in magazines.
Lately the aren't respecting anything and this news is proof of that.

the artists deserve respect, all of them. No matter the label, respect is a basic issue.

Posted by Costa Rica Doctors | December 18, 2010 1:48 PM

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