Beastie License 'Sabotage' to New Biden Ad About Struggling Venues - Rolling Stone
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Beastie Boys Lend ‘Sabotage’ to New Biden Ad That Highlights Struggling Music Venue

Band has rarely licensed music for commercials since Adam Yauch prohibited such moves in his will

Beastie Boys on 15.05.1987 in Fürth. | usage worldwide Photo by: Fryderyk Gabowicz/picture-alliance/dpa/AP ImagesBeastie Boys on 15.05.1987 in Fürth. | usage worldwide Photo by: Fryderyk Gabowicz/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

The Beastie Boys made the rare decision of agreeing to license "Sabotage" for a new Joe Biden ad about struggling venues during Covid-19.

Fryderyk Gabowicz/picture-alliance/AP IMAGES

UPDATE (10/22): A Biden campaign ad highlighting the struggles of Michigan venue during the Covid-19 pandemic was pulled after its owner and his family started receiving threats.


Joe Biden’s presidential campaign has released a new ad highlighting the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the live music industry — and it features a rare commercial sync of a Beastie Boys song.

The 60-second spot aired Sunday, October 18th, during an NFL game and is centered around Joe Malcoun, co-owner of the Ann Arbor, Michigan, club the Blind Pig, which has been shuttered for shows throughout the pandemic. Malcoun talks about how difficult it’s been for venues, bars, and restaurants to make ends meet with limited revenue during the pandemic and warns that many won’t survive without federal assistance.

Just as Malcoun says, “This is Donald Trump’s economy — there’s no plan and you don’t know how to go forward,” the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” kicks in. The spot also features snippets of the Breeders’ “Cannonball,” and the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind.”

The Beastie Boys have been very strict about not allowing their music to be used in commercials since Adam Yauch died in 2012; in his will, the late musician prohibited his “image or name or any music or any artistic property created by me be used for advertising purposes.” The band has since sued Monster Energy and GoldieBlox for unlicensed use of their music in ads, and they’ve previously only allowed “Sabotage” to be used in trailers for the 2015 movie Star Trek Beyond and the 2017 video game Destiny 2. A spokesperson for the Biden campaign told Variety that the band agreed to let “Sabotage” be used in the spot “because of the importance of the election.”


In This Article: Beastie Boys, covid-19, Joe Biden


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