The Beastie Boys Don’t License Music for Ads, But They Made an Exception for Biden

The Beastie Boys. (Image via Brian Rasic/Getty Images)

The Democratic campaign hit its viewers and followers with an unexpected ad at the end of Sunday’s Steelers/Browns game. The Beastie Boys, who rarely ever license any of their music for advertisements, ended that streak when portions of their hit song “Sabotage” appeared in Joe Biden’s “The Blind Pig” presidential campaign ad.

What We Know:

  • This ad was very straight and to point when addressing the current administration’s failure in handling the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It specifically focuses on how the virus’ shutdowns have crippled the live music industry, much like many others. The star of the ad was a well-known local club in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Blind Pig, which has remained with little to no business.
  • Again like many other businesses, it is in danger of closing forever after 50 years of being a pillar of the community for Ann Harbor. The owners place much of the blame on President Trump’s response to the health crisis. A Biden campaign spokesperson stated that the main reason the Beastie Boys agreed to the use of their hit “Sabotage” in the ad was because of their belief that this is one of the most important elections of our time.
  • “Everywhere I go, people have a story about the Blind Pig,” Joe Malcoun, co-owner of the Blind Pig, says in the commercial. “The Blind Pig has been one of those clubs that attract artists from all genres. For 50 years, the Blind Pig has been open and crowded, but right now, it’s an empty room.” Malcoun goes on to say how he is not alone in this fight and without much more revenue, he believes they could be done for. Many businesses have and are currently undergoing their own financial issues and many not make it out of the pandemic unscathed.

“This is Donald Trump’s economy: There is no plan and you don’t know how to go forward. It makes me so angry. My only hope for my family and for this business and my community is that Joe Biden wins this election,” he continued.

  • According to the club’s website, The Blind Pig began as a popular blues spot in the ’70s but it eventually turned into an all-genre nightspot which ended up hosting big acts such as Nirvana and Soundgarden. The Michigan oriented ad aired on TV just a day after Donald Trump held a rally in the known swing state and only two days after Biden paid his own campaign visit there.
  • Viewers can hear the classic Beastie Boys tune roughly 40 seconds into the one-minute ad. The timing allows for the spontaneous appearance of Biden and running mate Kamala Harris in masks.

After the death of one of the founders of the group, Adam Yauch, he made a note on his will that any music he was involved in making should not be used for advertising by any means. This prompts the group to previously suing Monster Energy and GoldieBox for use of their songs in the past but “Sabotage” has appeared in trailers for Star Trek and the Destiny 2 videogame.