How much do you value your credibility?
We’ve written a lot about ‘selling out,’ and how the lines have completely changed since the 60s. But there’s definitely still a line, especially for artists on the indie side.
“I don’t want your fucking burrito money.”
Enter Father John Misty, who was recently offered $250,000 to do a Chipotle ad (yes, one ad). Easy money, right? Except this wasn’t just any ad: the burrito giant wanted Misty to cover a Backstreet Boys song for the ad, according to the singer.
Specifically, “I Want It That Way,” done mellower indie style. “Yep, that’s my life,” Misty (real name J. Tillman) told the crowd while performing recently at the Newport Folk Festival. “I was like, ‘cool, so then I can just buy like two Cadillacs and just crash them together. I don’t want your fucking burrito money.”
Major credibility points, but it’s actually unclear if fans would have accused Misty of selling out. For starters, Backstreet Boys is now nostalgia pop, with all the tongue-in-cheek retro and sentimentality that comes with that. And indie artists are constantly featured in commercials these days, including everything from Jeep ads to insurance commercials. Indeed, fans don’t really care that much, and on the rap and hip-hop side, they applaud their favorite artists for getting paid.
Which is probably by Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard and My Morning Jacket singer Jim James teamed up and actually took the Chipotle offer — covering the exact same Backstreet Boys song. All of which raises the question of whether Tillman just lost an easy quarter million, though he doesn’t sound like he regrets the move. “Point of the Chipotle story was a discussion on whether folk music is good for anything anymore other than just the selling of things,” Misty tweeted soon thereafter.
But wait: the spot itself is actually pretty damn cool! Take a look.