Posted in music on February 1, 2011

The Black Keys @ ACL 2010 (more by Tim Griffin)
Black Keys

Auerbach and Carney squared off against Koenig by naming the commercials that had licensed their music -- Hewlett Packard, Zales, Victoria's Secret and Tommy Hilfilger, to name a few -- before Colbert called the contest a draw and declared that both bands had "equally whored out [their] music."

But that claim -- even if it was said in jest -- is somewhat misleading, Carney says.

"A lot of people see a Nissan ad and they see a finished product in a record store or on iTunes and that's the face of the band," Carney says. "What they don't see is that we made [Brothers] in a cinderblock building in the middle of nowhere in Alabama, with five microphones and a guitar amp and a drum set. I don't know what that means, exactly, but I do know we didn't spend a lot of money making this record, and it's an honest way of approaching making music. And once the music is out there, when you're selling a record and selling music and people are going to do whatever they want with it, it's kind of hard to resist certain opportunities, especially in the record market now." [NPR]

The Black Keys are currently up for four Grammy Awards... and for two MTVu Woodie Awards (more than any other artist).

The Woodies, for what it's worth, are going to take place at SXSW this year instead of in NYC as usual. Other nominees include Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Local Natives, Sleigh Bells, Two Door Cinema Club, Wavves, Das Racist, Die Antwoord, and Yelawolf. You can vote for the winners at MTV's site.

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Comments (77)

I hate these guys. Maybe if big success found them back when the garage rock revival happened in 2002 and "The" bands were big but that ship has long sailed. America has such weird, bad taste in alternative music. Put them on tour with Mumford & Sons, throw them into a dumpster and start that dumpster on fire. Pretty sure Cold War Kids are going to have a lot of success this year as well based on this same trend.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 10:31 AM

Thank you for the very useful information anon 10:31, your opinion means a lot to all of us.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 10:37 AM

i want to like them but i just hear butt rock

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 10:38 AM

It's cool to sell out if you acknowledge and mock it.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 10:40 AM

I heard 10:37 loves Feist.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 10:42 AM

Thank you for the very useful information anon 10:31, your opinion means a lot to all of us.

Posted by شات تعب قلبي | February 1, 2011 10:43 AM

The inevitable success backlash. Shocker.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 10:53 AM

You're very welcome anon 10:37 and 10:43, although your opinion on my opinion comes off sounding like nothing short of mildly autistic with the slightest hint of douchebaggery.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 10:55 AM

This isnt selling out my fellow middle schoolers. Its called making money in your chosen occupation.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 10:55 AM

This is message board, you all keep your opinions to yourselves.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 10:55 AM

I'll just stick with my Jimi Hendrix & Cream records..

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 10:56 AM

It has nothing to do with with an inevitable success backlash and everything to do with the fact they were never good in the first place.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 10:57 AM

Anyone else hear the rumors about Grizzly Bear breaking up? The Coachella forums had it and someone in another post here said the same.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 10:58 AM

i think they're still good. you cannot deny that the dude rips at guitar.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 11:11 AM

I'm having trouble keeping up with all the "The Black ____s" and what not. Gotta start naming your bands differently.

Haha, 10:56. I concur.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 11:12 AM

I dont know, I kind of like the fact a band called the black keys dont have a piono in it. However, I do hope we have seen our last band with "Crystal" or "Wolf" in it.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 11:15 AM

You're trying to suceed in what you love to do and pay your rent and eat food! Fuck you sell outs! Happiness sucess and tallent are totally not indie! Excuse me while I jewel off to this new Arcade Fire record.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 11:21 AM

Fucking auto correct. Jerk off. You know what I mean.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 11:23 AM

selling out? how do you expect musicians to make money anymore?

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 11:27 AM

"It's cool to sell out if you acknowledge and mock it."

How shrewd. Try this. You couldn't sell a song to Nissan if you tried. Acknowledge and mock that.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 11:28 AM

They wouldn't do it if 50% of the people who have their album actually paid for it.

You gotta make money somehow nowadays.....

I don't fault them in the least.

Great band.

Posted by Kyle | February 1, 2011 11:32 AM

I like "Jewel off." Might actually start using that.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 11:35 AM

I hope they go on tour with Mumford & Sons. Two best bands in the world right now.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 11:38 AM

They don't even need to explain those actions. It is their job and their art - bonus if people pay them for it (as long as they aren't nazis or the like).

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 11:44 AM

Answer me this BrooklynVegans, what makes a band like Black keys so much different than Radiohead when it comes to commercialising their success?! Answer me that! You can't. You don't know the answer. You're all just scared of becoming part of it all. Get over yourselves! This is where music profit is these days. If you want great bands like Mumford & Sons and Neon Trees around, you got to let them make money. Otherwise, they're just starving artists who don't get their music played anywhere. Get over yourselves!

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 11:52 AM

I hope they make a song for the sabra

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 11:52 AM

anyone that speaks of "selling out" is a complete d00shbag. Only way to make $$ in this business is to sell tix and sell music. These guys have been touring their assess of for years and deserve to see some coin. If a car company is going to offer you 250 grand for a commercial, wtf are you going to say? no? Its not the 1979 punk movement anymore and whoever thought it admorable not to "sell out" in the first place is a moron. Im not even a huge fan of the keys but i have seen them a handful of times and there is no doubt that they are both extremely talented-if u doubt that check out what they did twith juniors tunes on Chulahoma. The only people that get pissed in these instances are those who want their musical tastes to remain that of the minority and therefore further their own "coolness" in their own minds. You think these guys give a sh*t about that? Or you think they want to get paid for their efforts and recognized by a much broader audience? RANT

Posted by shpongle | February 1, 2011 12:00 PM

I never really liked their stuff even when they were running around playing at crunchy jamfest hippy shows. I think it's awesome that they spent very little money recording music they wrote with little over sight from a producer/record company and made big bucks without really being in too much lime light. Though, I could do without the over saturation of their name simply because I'm not going to buy the product. So please, marketing people, stop asking me to.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 12:01 PM

Radiohead has special edition Vans shoes. They also sell their shirts in Urban Outfitters. I hear instrumental versions of their songs in horrible, pop TV shows all the time.

It's ridiculous to criticize the Black Keys for licensing out their tunes. People don't listen to the radio anymore. This band is getting their music out there and getting paid. What's wrong with that?

Pat Carney justified it very well.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 12:05 PM

less art, more brands

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 12:08 PM

The folks who defend 'sell-outs' are the same people who accept high ticket prices as normal & then deride others for rightfully complaining about it.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 12:17 PM

Some bands refuse to sell music to commercials.
-the doors
-Neil young
-red hot chili peppers

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 12:18 PM

^^wow-must be why I never heard of them

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 12:21 PM

12:18, that's because the Chili Peppers don't need to, and those other acts made all their money years ago when playing music was profitable.

As long as there are 15-18 year old high school kids with acne and bad hair, the Chili Peppers will have a huge fanbase.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 12:23 PM

Younger bands (like the Black Keys) deserve a pass because the business is obviously different nowadays. Older stalwarts of rock (Dylan, Rolling Stones, The Who, etc.) do not. They already have all the money in the world. So unless those old farts are donating it all to charities there is no excuse.

Neil Young, though old and grumpy, is one of the few to retain his integrity.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 12:27 PM

"The folks who defend 'sell-outs' are the same people who accept high ticket prices as normal & then deride others for rightfully complaining about it."

I can personally attest to this being bullsh*t. Do some research and go see a band before they blow up. I saw the keys for 20 bux

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 12:35 PM

Bruce Springsteen also has never sold music to commercials.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 12:35 PM

If you heard your favorite song of all-time (the one that got you through _____________) in a car commercial (assuming the song wasn't written about that car), you would probably feel some measure of disappointment.

Fortunately, not too many bands are writing your favorite song of all-time these days, so what does it matter?

Posted by vishu verhaire | February 1, 2011 12:46 PM

"I can personally attest to this being bullsh*t. Do some research and go see a band before they blow up. I saw the keys for 20 bux"

Thanks for proving my point dipshit. If you're paying $20 to see a band 'before thay blow-up' you're a bona fide sucker.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 12:51 PM

It's a different game these days folks. Believe it or not, people don't make money unless you license your music to commercials, films etc etc. Get over it and grow up.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 12:54 PM

"Thanks for proving my point dipsh*t. If you're paying $20 to see a band 'before thay blow-up' you're a bona fide sucker."

totally bro foals, tame impala, alberta cross and local natives all blew this year. Thank god they were $3.50 to get in..........oh wait
stick to cake shop bro

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 12:59 PM

"Get over it and give up"

fix'd

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 12:59 PM

I was dissapointed when led zep licensed "Rock and Roll" to that Cadillac commercial a few years back. That song was special and now when I hear it I think of large luxury cars. Sucks!

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 1:05 PM

everybody calm down and eat some hummus.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 1:05 PM

totally bro foals, tame impala, alberta cross and local natives all blew this year. Thank god they were $3.50 to get in..........oh wait
stick to cake shop bro

- What a wide range of musical talent you culled from your ipod for example. Only stoners say bro

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 1:06 PM

I was disappointed when "Do You Realize" was in that Volkswagen commercial.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 1:06 PM

1:05, Robert Plant is a shitty straw man. I mean that literally and figuratively.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 1:08 PM

ian mackaye settled this issue a long time ago.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 1:10 PM

What is a "shitty straw man"?
Is it similar to a "robust hummus man"?

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 1:11 PM

"What a wide range of musical talent you culled from your ipod for example."

hah yea BRO pulled from my ipod -or just 3 random shows i went to for 20 bux that you will see destroy it in 2011. And only stoners say bro on BV eh? Guess im dealing with the standard 17-22 year old milkmaid hipster dbag a$$hat who cant shell out 20 bux for a show. Go back to school, your mind is re-re

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 1:15 PM

hah yea BRO pulled from my ipod -or just 3 random shows i went to for 20 bux that you will see destroy it in 2011. And only stoners say bro on BV eh? Guess im dealing with the standard 17-22 year old milkmaid hipster dbag a$$hat who cant shell out 20 bux for a show. Go back to school, your mind is re-re

- Clearly I touched a sore spot with your awful taste in 'hipster' music & deep seated insecurity.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 1:22 PM

I think it's worth noting the companies that bands sell out to.

For example:
Apple, American Apparel, Sabra, Urban Outfitters = All model corporations, acceptable to sell out to.

Wal-Mart, McDonalds, General Electric, Clear Channel = Evil corporations, selling out to them should result in instant blacklisting.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 1:26 PM

- Clearly I touched a sore spot with your awful taste in 'hipster' music & deep seated insecurity.

Clearly-im gonna go return to my hipster job where i press buttons and make hundreds of thousands of dollars from my computer while intermittently fuk with mindless clowns on my laptop-....clearly one of my insecurities-u win

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 1:32 PM

yes sabra is a model corp. but i would rather see them in a abraham's commercial, more indie.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 1:35 PM

"Some bands refuse to sell music to commercials.
-the doors
-Neil young
-red hot chili peppers"

Yes, because illegal downloading and decreasing ticket sales was a huge problem back when they made their money.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 1:40 PM

BRO! BRO!!! BROOO!!!BROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 1:51 PM

RABBLE, RABBLE, RABBLE!!!

Posted by The Congregation | February 1, 2011 2:14 PM

I second 1:05. Also, I'm liking Dan Auerbach's less intense beard. Less beard to get hummus stuck in.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 2:29 PM

TOTAL SELLOUTS

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 3:58 PM

Never liked this band so I don't care.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 3:59 PM

Brothers actually has good songs on it. And overall, its a pretty good listen. I bet the food they eat because of the money they get from licensing (read the only way to make money in this stupid, stupid, stupid, retarded fucking world of music) tastes pretty good and gives them the vitamins and minerals they need to record said music and tour for said albums. I also bet their girlfriends/families appreciate that they can turn inspiration into money--whatever variety that might be. I also bet their parents are proud of them for making money off of music. Sure car commercials suck major ass, but doesn't working under florescent lights or creating copy or using photoshop or pushing a food cart around or writing for a newspaper or whoring your body out or working the land suck as well? I bet it really sucks nuts to go and play guitar for a living, especially when it's songs you've written yourself that no one made you write. Surely it would be better to live up to the 'no sell-out code' and shoot junk and eat candy all day alone and horde any glimmer of art from the greedy culture at large. Is Warhol any different? He's the patron saint of idiot, classless billionaires the world over, but he also funded the fucking Velvets! Would they ever have survived? Is Raphael a sell-out for being commissioned to paint the School of Athens in the Vatican?--not to compare apples and oranges. I bet the Black Keys guy look at the checks they get and it makes them feel good. I bet it actually helps them forget how much everyone else's life sucks and lets them focus on what drives them to be human beings in their own way.

Posted by Dude Bird | February 1, 2011 4:32 PM

4:32 makes a good point when he/she says,

" I bet the food they eat because of the money they get from licensing (read the only way to make money in this stupid, stupid, stupid, retarded fucking world of music) tastes pretty good and gives them the vitamins and minerals they need to record said music"

As a friend of the band I can make claim that they eat massive portions of hummus on a daily basis.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 4:46 PM

I'm fucking in, you're fucking out.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 4:50 PM

Whoever is using the term "sellouts" to describe a band that 2% of America's population has heard of (%0.00001 of the worlds population) is either an idiot or jealous.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 4:55 PM

Hate to break it to you, but you/we are all "sellouts"

You are all trying to foritfy/fomulate your identities by "selling" your opinions.

But I ain't mad at cha... Just the opposite actually.

I'm selling t-shirts btw..hit me up.

Posted by Burg | February 1, 2011 5:04 PM

4:32 might be one of the best comments I've ever seen in a BV comment section. Take note, hummus guy.

"Shoot junk and eat candy all day." Classic. Thank you.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 5:11 PM

DUDE BIRD. I enjoy your writing.

Posted by Burg | February 1, 2011 5:18 PM

comment of the year by Dude Bird

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 5:28 PM

Couple of things...

Sabra = "model corporation"

Sabra Hummus is made by Sabra Dipping Company LLC, which is 50% owned by the Israeli company the Strauss Group in a joint-venture partnership with PepsiCo (the Strauss Group also owns 100% of Max Brenner, see below). The Strauss Group is the second largest Israeli food and beverage company and is widely touted as one of the great successes of Israeli industry.

The Strauss Group supports the Israeli army and specifically, the Golani Brigade, an “elite” unit with a history of severe human rights abuses. On its website, the Struass Group presents this support under the banner of “Corporate Responsibility,” proudly proclaiming its special relationship with the Golani Brigade in the subsection entitled “In the Field with Soldiers” (Update Nov 6th, 2010: This page of their website has been revised. CLICK HERE for a screen-shot of how it appeared on Oct 9th, 2010):

“Our connection with soldiers goes as far back as the country, and even further. We see a mission and need to continue to provide our soldiers with support, to enhance their quality of life and service conditions, and sweeten their special moments. We have adopted the Golani reconnaissance platoon for over 30 years and provide them with an ongoing variety of food products for their training or missions, and provide personal care packages for each soldier that completes the path.”

Historically, the Israeli army has been a flagrant violator of human rights and international law. Even in this context, the Golani Brigade has attracted particular attention. According to a January 2009 article in Ha’aretz Daily, the Golani Brigade “is known as a brigade that struggles with no small number of disciplinary problems and scandals, caused by bad behavior ranging from revolts against commanders to abuse of Palestinians.”

“Breaking the Silence", a group composed of ex-Israeli soldiers, has documented numerous cases of Golani Brigade involvement in human rights abuses. For example, in November 2008, members of the Golani Brigade filmed themselves forcing a captive, blindfolded Palestinian to sing humiliating songs, some, as the BBC news describes it, “of a sexual nature,” and some about the Golani Brigade. In December 2005, a Golani Brigade officer was convicted for beating a Palestinian detainee and threatening to cut off his penis.

Yigal Amir, the assassin of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, was a member of the Golani Brigade. A 1995 New York Times article on Amir and the Golani Brigade presented the following portrait of the Brigade’s behavior:

“One day reporters came upon some of them [Golani Brigades] in a Palestinian village near Bethlehem, dragging youths into a bus packed with soldiers beating their clubs on the steel seat frames in unison and chanting wildly: ‘We are Golani! We are insane!’….

‘In Golani, everybody hits,’ Mr. Amir’s comrade, Mr. Nagar remembered. . . . During searches in Jabalaya, a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, Mr. Nagar said, ‘The officer says, before breaking into a house, give them a 10,000 mile tune-up.’”

The Times article noted that in addition to Amir, “Three men who had served in Golani have committed widely publicized murders of Arabs and an Israeli peace campaigner.”


Also -- the "a band cant make money in today's industry without selling cars" argument is certainly not an absolute truth. Black Keys have 2 members and roughly 8 person crew (last show I saw in December) with two semis, extensive staging and production.

Even so, they are clearing at least $30k a night at a venue with least 1200 cap and a $25 ticket. Double that for major festivals, add up a 3-4 week tour and they are clearing some decent numbers and certainly able to pay rent, let alone support a comfortable lifestyle. Who said musicians were supposed to be mega-millionaires anyway? Its not like they are dunking basketballs into cylindrical metal hoops or hitting baseballs with wooden sticks, or anything, you know, that has great value to our society.

Point being, no one "has" to license their music and no one certainly "has" to do so to a major international corporation.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 7:39 PM

^^"Clearing" meaning gross, not net.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 7:48 PM

7:39...
I suppose you make a valid point.
I will eat cedars instead of sabra from now on.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 8:13 PM

739. Now that is an elaborate hummus comment. holy shit. off the meter.

Posted by Anonymous | February 1, 2011 11:24 PM

this thread is filled with lulz.

Posted by Anonymous | February 2, 2011 12:22 AM

7:39, you should publish a hummus field guide. I would buy it.

Posted by Anonymous | February 2, 2011 9:42 AM

Know your hummus kids....aint no laughing matter.

Posted by 7:39pm | February 2, 2011 7:09 PM

Why so much anger in these messages? Everyone's attacking everyone because of a band making money on they're product! BFD! Sounds like the NCAA's ruling towards Ohio State football players who sold "they're" stuff.

Posted by Noone | August 9, 2011 7:50 PM

ian mackaye settled this issue a long time ago.

Posted by Mini Dirt Bike Games | October 23, 2012 4:37 PM

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