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Are musicians selling themselves short?

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16382__jewel_lSo, an article in yesterday’s Variety talked about how artists are turning to film to record quality original work, clogging this year’s Best Song Oscar race with folks who, while not as groundbreaking as the Three 6 Mafia, are at least somewhat more vibrant than, say, Celine Dion. Meanwhile, our friends over at Idolator pulled out (and properly mocked) a complaint by Jewel (pictured) over how film and TV work is, in fact, all she can get these days. Seems Mrs. Whatever-The-
Name-Of-Her-Bullriding-Husband-Is has gotten frustrated with the fact that record companies are no longer care about the music, just about the promotion.

Well, as silly as it is for Jewel to be bemoaning her recent lack of success (I’m sure her Men in Trees cameo really grabbed the MySpace crowd by the throat), the gal’s got a little bit of a point. A quick spin through the interbunny this morning — and by quick I mean like 20 seconds — netted me a live performance by Incubus on behalf of Nissan, an interview with Jay “Budweiser Select” Z for AT&T, and a live performance by Neil Diamond (Neil Diamond!) on behalf of AOL/Chevrolet.

And then there’s the fact that John Mellencamp‘s label is worried that the incessant commercial spins of his patri-erotic Chevy Truck anthem “Our Country” might actually hurt his album sales. Favorite bit from the recent Wall Street Journal article: “A commercial-length excerpt of a song may not allow listeners to appreciate its nuances. ‘Exposure is one of the most valuable assets there is these days,’ says Universal Republic President Monte Lipman. ‘But when you hear the song in the context of a commercial, it doesn’t do it justice.'” Oh, ya think?

So I dunno really what my point is here except: Don’t you think it’spossible that we should start expecting more from our artists thantheir incessant willingness to pimp themselves out to the highestbidder? And don’t you think we, as the consumers, should get to have alittle bit of a say in what we buy… and why we buy/don’t buy it? Imean, not that I was gonna buy the Mellencamp album anyway (does ithave “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.” on it?), but about halfway through theWorld Series, I decided I was never going to purchase a Chevrolet orsay the word “cougar” again, either. Maybe his label should be scared.

What do you think, kids? Any chance of us rallying together to makea change? I realize that I’m always quoting Michael Jackson in thesesituations, but really, it has to start with the man in themirror. We’ll start small: Boycott all things Pussycat Dolls untilthat wretched Heineken commercial stops running.  Who’s with me?!?