There’s little point in raising any objections to The Eagles’ exclusive distribution deal with Wal-Mart for their double-album Long Road Out of Eden just because it’s about money. Back in 1994, The Eagles had an unfortunate influence on the music industry thanks to their prolonged absence from it, and were therefore able to command upwards of $100 – then a princely sum – for a ticket to one of their reunion shows, which has led to an ongoing competition to see who can command the most dollars per ticket. But in terms of sheer greed, The Eagles are far outpaced by other bands who jump at every licensing deal throw at them. Plus, it’s far less disconcerting to see a band “selling out” when its music no longer matters. So this move means almost nothing to anyone who isn’t on the Eagles Inc. payroll.
I can’t even get that irritated by the obvious hypocrisy. In a recent CNN interview, Don Henley says that Wal-Mart made them “a really good offer” and that’s presumably why he’s excepting Wal-Mart from his usual tirades about the evils of corporations. Henley is rock’s biggest blowhard, and I’ve long felt that the louder someone has to be about their beliefs, the less sincere they are. It’s as if they’re trying to convince themselves while they’re convincing you. Social responsibility was good for his career, until it wasn’t. And again, it’s not like the Eagles have been above a big money grab before.
No, the thing I find objectionable is Henley’s further reasoning about the wisdom of their decision:
And a lot of our fans are customers of Wal-Mart, so we thought it was a good fit.
Hmm, where have I heard that before? Oh wait, I remember.
We feel okay about VWs. Several of us even drive them.”
Is this the new standard? It’s OK as long as it’s something you or your fans use? If so, I can’t wait for, say, Tegan and Sara’s “Knife Going In” to show up in an ad for Land O’ Lakes Butter. Or maybe an exclusive distribution deal with BP Amoco stations for the next album by Rihanna because “a lot of my fans have cars that use gas, so it seemed like a natural fit.” Or music from Nickelback’s next album showing up in an Ex-Lax ad because it’s so shitty.