Beastie Boys Break Their Pledge to Never License Their Music for Advertising — ‘Sabotage’ Appears In a Joe Biden Campaign Spot

The Beastie Boys performing live in Barcelona, Spain, in 2007. Photo Credit: Michael Morel
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The Beastie Boys performing live in Barcelona, Spain, in 2007. Photo Credit: Michael Morel
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The Beastie Boys performing live in Barcelona, Spain, in 2007. Photo Credit: Michael Morel

The Beastie Boys have broken their longstanding pledge to abstain from licensing music for advertising, as their 1994 “Sabotage” track appeared in a recently released Joe Biden campaign spot.

After passing in 2012, Beastie Boys co-founder and bassist MCA (whose full name was Adam Yauch) requested that the group’s surviving members abstain from licensing his music for commercial purposes. To be sure, Yauch — who cowrote “Sabotage” — stated in his will: “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, in no event may my image or name or any music or any artistic property created by me be used for advertising purposes.”

While a presidential candidate – not a product – is plugged in the Joe Biden advert, it appears that the “Sabotage” license also violates Yauch’s aforementioned “advertising purposes” wish. Moreover, multiple outlets have mistakenly reported that this marks the first instance wherein the Beastie Boys have approved their work’s use in advertising – but the deal appears to signify the group’s formal debut in the political space.

2016 saw the New York City-based group green-light the appearance of “Sabotage” in a Star Trek Beyond trailer (the track also made its way into several prior Star Trek movies), as well as a Destiny 2 advertisement in 2017. That crossed the line on advertising — and drew accusations of hypocrisy — though the surviving members appeared firm on refusing to license any additional ads.

The group subsequently filed a lawsuit following an unauthorized (parody) use of “Girls,” in which the Beastie Boys reiterated their stance on the matter of commercial licensing, indicating: “Make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads.”

The minute-long Biden video itself centers on the operational difficulties experienced by Ann Arbor, Michigan, bar and live music venue The Blind Pig amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including criticism of the Trump administration’s virus response from co-owner Joe Malcoun.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer closed indoor bars – specifically for businesses that attribute 70 percent or more of their annual revenue to alcohol sales – in a July 1st order. Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services allowed the establishments to resume serving (seated and socially distanced) customers on Friday, October 9th, and this set of guidelines will run through Friday, October 30th.

Interestingly, the spot’s comments are turned off, though the like/dislike feature remains enabled. At the time of this writing, the ad had garnered some 377,000 views, with approximately 6.6 thousand likes and 1.2 thousand dislikes. “Sabotage” begins playing at about 39-second mark, following roughly 16 seconds of The Pixies’ “Where is My Mind?”

And as a noteworthy final aside, some evidence suggests that this particular music license is largely attributable to the surviving Beastie Boys’ political inclinations, as opposed to purely monetary interests. Ad-Rock (Adam Keefe Horovitz) is a vocal critic of the president, and Sotheby’s recently revealed that it will auction the multimillion-dollar art collection of Mike D’s late mother in January. An “exceedingly rare sculpture” from Italy’s Gian Lorenzo Bernini – one of many pieces of art to be sold at the function – is expected to fetch as much as $12 million.

The full Biden ‘Blind Pig’ spot is here.

20 Responses

  1. The Beastie Boys support racism and pedophilia

    The Beastie Boys support that pedophile and white supremacist Joe Biden? Good to know.

    • Angelito

      Biden is not a pedophile or white supremacist. That is a lie and you know it.

      Trump; however, is a proven sexist, racist and egomaniac.

      And you have just proven, you’re an idiot.

      • Anonymous

        Joe Biden is a pedophile and a white supremacist with long history or racism and hatred towards minorities. Those are facts and they don’t care about your feelings.

        • Gilfoyle

          Trump is a pedophile and hangs out with friends who are pedos and sex traffickers. Those are facts. Your assertions are false and cannot be proved because they are not true.

          • Gilfoyle is a pedophile

            You are are a pedophile yourself and that’s why you are defending that child molester Biden.

  2. Angelito

    Joe Biden is a crook who took kickbacks from Hunter’s illegal deals. Biden is a creep who has done NOTHING is 50 years in Washington other than engage in corruption and fondle young girls.

    And, that is your democrat hero. Democrats are damn creeps and liars.

      • Amy Vanderbilt

        They have the laptop, compadre. But, I know facts mean nothing when you are committed to Biden’s lies.

        • Filomina

          What’s on the laptop, slick? Yeah, nothing to prove anything. If there was, it would have come out already. Again, fake news with a sensational headline to try to get idiots like yourself to believe something. You’re a fool. Congrats.

          • Amy Vanderbilt

            FBI is analyzing it right now. It also has kiddie porn on it—no surprise there considering his father is a pedophile.

      • Angelito

        Prove Russian collusion by Trump. Oh—forgot—four investigations, millions of taxpayer dollars, and you liberal pukes found NOTHING.

        • Geronimo

          Nobody said anything about Russia, but it appears that’s your go-to point for some reason.

          Trump has a secret Chinese bank account. Uh oh!

          Trump steals from the US taxpayers.

          Trump never built a wall with Mexico money. Idiot

  3. Long Island Medium

    “After passing in 2012, Beastie Boys co-founder and bassist MCA requested that the group’s surviving members abstain from licensing his music for commercial purposes.”

    Cripes, I didn’t really think the dead could speak.

  4. Angelito

    I watched an old Youtube video of the Beastial Boys from Letterman way back. It was unwatchable—screeching preachy vocals, stupid “song,” and poor musicianship.

    I literally prefer old Karen Carpenter videos, or the Captain and Tenille. Or, poking my eardrums outs.

    • Harold

      Please go poke your eardrums out, literally. Good to see you have no taste for music in addition to your lunatic views on America, politics and social issues.

      • Justine

        I agree. I see that guy posting comments all the time that make no sense. His assumptive conclusions are way off base, and never have fact to back up claims. He’s a weirdo. Ignore him.

    • Orion

      After 4 years of failure. Makes perfect sense coming from you. He won’t get another 4 years, but eventually he’s going to get about 20 to life for his actions.