Lou Reed and Dead Kennedys Go Public Against Ad Funded Piracy with Facebook Posts

We’d just like to say a very big thank you to both Lou Reed and the Dead Kennedys who publicly posted to Facebook this week our posts showing how they are being exploited by major brands and big tech internet advertising corporations.



In the recent weeks we’ve heard from Aimee Mann, Pink Floyd, Thom Yorke, Blake Morgan, Lou Reed and the Dead Kennedys on various issues negatively effecting artists in the “digital economy.”

These artists have presented their concerns ranging from Spotify royalty rates, Pandora’s dishonest attempts to cut  their currently mandated rates by 85% and of course Ad Funded Piracy which pays artists absolutely nothing.

In each of the cases addressed above artists are speaking out against the exploitative practices of corporate interests destroying the ability of professional musicians to maintain sustainable careers.

Change happens when artists speak up and speak out.

Lou Reed Exploited By American Express, AT&T, Chevrolet, Chili’s, Lysol, Pottery Barn, Vons, Domino’s Pizza, Netflix, Galaxy Nexus and Ron Jeremy!

Here we go again… We can go to Google and within minutes search for an artist of stature such as Lou Reed and quickly find unlicensed and infringing internet businesses exploiting his life’s work illegally while paying the him nothing, zero, zilch, nadda, zippo.

There are many disappointing things about all of this, but the first is that when doing a simple Google search for “Lou Reed Mp3” the first five returns are for illegally operating and infringing sites.

This doesn’t count YouTube which may or may not be infringing, and may or may not actually be paying Lou from the advertising revenue (on this video, in the screen shots below for example). This is all the more troubling because we know that this can be easily filtered if there is the will to do so.

The ad networks have been highlighted in the fantastic work done by Jonathan Taplin in the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab’s Advertising Transparency Reports.

Perhaps most disappointing however is that major companies like American Express, AT&T Chevorlet, Chili’s, Lysol, Pottery Barn, Vons, Domino’s Pizza, Netflix and Galaxy Nexus are still supporting the this exploitation of artists with corporate advertising dollars. These companies not only supply the funding for these sites exploiting artists to exist, but perhaps even worse they add legitimacy to music piracy by lending their brand identity to it.

Clearly there is a lot of money being made in the distribution of music on the internet. Sadly not much of that money (or in this case NONE of it) is being distributed (or uhm, “shared”) with the artists themselves.

In any value chain where the artists work is being distributed and/or exploited for profit, the artist should be included in that value chain.









Not only do we see the major companies supporting these sites but there’s also the scam ads, rip offs and bogus services. And here’s where it gets even uglier…on sites like The Pirate Bay the work of Lou Reed is promoting adult (escort services?) and porn products like the one offered by Ron Jeremy below.


Let us not forget that the above examples represent a drop in the ocean of the over 200,000 infringing sites that Google alone is tracking.

See more Corporate Advertising Funded Exploitation of Artists:
Tom Waits * Neil Young * Aimee Mann * Neko Case * U2 * Ben Gibbard/Death Cab For Cutie * East Bay Ray / Dead Kennedy’s * Billy Corgan/Smashing Pumpkins