Chances are that you’ve seen the tear-jerker, anti-drunk driving Budweiser commercial about the dude and his puppy. You know, the dog eagerly waits for his scruffy twenty-something owner to come home after a night of drinking, but doesn’t… until the next morning where dude apologizes to dog and says “I decided I shouldn’t drive home last night. I stayed at Dave’s.”
It currently has over 19 million views on YouTube and is starting to air on television. It played during last night’s Sunday Night Football.
The most frequent comment on YouTube is “What is the song? Who is it by?”
Good question Budweiser! The song is so prominent and featured, but there’s no mention of the artist in the YouTube description. And there are no annotations on the video linking people to iTunes.Well, the song is by Minneapolis musician Dan Rodriguez. And yes, it was a work for hire. Meaning, Rodriguez will not see another dime from what he was paid up front (which I learned from sources close to this project, wasn’t much).
The difference between this “jingle” and most others is that this was written as a full song, performed and sung by a working singer/songwriter. It’s not an instrumental track cranked out by a jingle house.
It’s like keeping the Friends theme “I’ll Be There For You” uncredited (with no royalties for the songwriters). That song has single-handedly sustained those songwriters’ entire lives.
Budweiser technically owns the song and is not letting Rodriquez sell it on iTunes. But why not? People are asking for it. Hell, split the royalties! Budweiser doesn’t need the money, but the indie singer/songwriter does.
The view count has since tapered off. A month ago it was getting a million plays a day. Now it’s in the thousands. So, the sales window has pretty much closed.
But why didn’t Budweiser even credit him in the description? That would at least get this performing singer/songwriter more fans.
It’s an odd oversight from a company pushing their Made In America documentary, festival and video series which is focused around music. Budweiser has jumped head first into the music sphere. But made a serious misstep with this.
Other Budweiser commercial spots like the “Puppy Love” #Bestbuds commercial (with the dog and the horses) and the “A Hero’s Welcome,” both from this past year’s Super Bowl, prominently feature music. However, these songs are from big stars: Parachute and Skyler Grey respectively. And Budweiser lists them in the description. They even give the iTunes link for the Skyler Grey song.
But why didn’t this happen for Dan Rodriguez’ song? I know I know it’s a work for hire! But come on Budweiser. Don’t be dicks.
To Budweiser’s credit, they were responding to most of the early questions in the comments revealing the name of the musician. So why not put his name in the description? Why not allow him to put it on iTunes?
This could have been Dan Rodriguez’ breakout song. 19 million views, for all intents and purposes, a music video? That’s good for anyone! Let alone an independent singer/songwriter. This could have made him tens of thousands in iTunes sales. T hat’s nothing for Budweiser, but that’s a lot for an independent musician.
Work For Hire isn’t what it used to be. Music discovery isn’t what it used to be. Fans use television shows, movies and commercials for music discovery now more than ever. Just because a song is written specifically for a commercial spot shouldn’t make it any less of a song. Especially one featured so prominently. And especially coming from a independent, working singer/songwriter.
Dear companies around the world requesting music for your commercials. Get outside what’s legally required of you and think about how you can support the independent musicians providing the meaningful soundtrack to help sell your products. It will help your goodwill in the long run.
Find more from Dan Rodriguez: http://www.danrodriguezmusic.com