The Who Remix Old Songs To Fit Into New Ads

thewhoselloutUsing hit songs to sell shoes, food, insurance, cars, and many other items is nothing new, but because those tunes don’t always fit precisely into the super-tight confines of a 30-second TV ad, the songs are often either butchered by editors or re-recorded specifically for the commercial. In an effort to make their music more easily shoehorned into ads and other media, The Who has remixed more than a dozen classic songs.

AdAge reports that the band’s guitarist and primary songwriter Pete Townshend recently told his music publisher that he still possessed the original multitrack tapes for many of the band’s hits from the ’60s and ’70s.

Thus, music production agency Mophonics was able to do Townshend-approved, ad- and movie-ready remixes of 15 classics, including “My Generation,” “Baba O’Riley” and “I’m Free.”

With the growth of online subscription services like Beats, Spotify, Google All Access, and others, actual sales of music have dropped in recent years, and will likely continue to decrease. Thus, artists need to keep making money through other means, and licensing for ads and entertainment is an incredibly lucrative business, earning $750 million a year for the American music industry.

Rather than allowing some anonymous editor slice and dice these classics or have some unknown band do a sound-alike knock-off of a song they think is titled “Teenage Wasteland,” Townshend says the approved remixes gives him some control and involvement in the final product.

“A lot of work [went] into these,” Townshend tells AdAge of the tweaked tunes, “especially because the respect shown by the remixes to the original songs and song shapes. I know that makes remixing harder, and less fun for them, but a lot of fun for me.”