Putting a number on commercial sellouts

How much of a sellout is it when rock ’n’ rollers rent out their songs for commercials? Writing for the Washington Post, a guy named Bill Wyman (but not the Rolling Stones’ Bill Wyman) presents a mathematical formula he has cooked up to determine what he calls the Moby Quotient (in dishonor of energetic seller-out Moby) in each case. It takes into account such factors as the rocker’s artistic reputation, the “sacredness” of the song in the rock canon, how wealthy the artist already is, etc. The higher the number, the bigger the sellout. By Wyman’s reckoning, the Clash’s selling of “London Calling” for a Jaguar ad gets an extremely high Moby Quotient of 100.22, while Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s sale of “Takin’ Care of Business” to Office Depot rates a mere 12.80. He’s set up a calculator you can use (plugging in your judgments of artists and their songs) to get your own Moby Quotients. Use it judiciously.

—Posted by Mark Dolliver