Sonic Youth teamed up with fashion designer Marc Jacobs and allowed their hit song “Teenage Riot” to be used in an ad campaign. Longtime fans of Sonic Youth were not too pleased and promptly accused the alt-rock band of selling out.
Commenters on YouTube were not too pleased and even said supplying their song to the major brand cheapens the music.
“Selling out your fans for cheap toilet water? I suppose it is the Artists prerogative/property but this song is a symbol for fans and I think transcends the band in some ways that i think they should have been more precious with it and thought of the fans. That being said, sonic youth isn’t getting any younger and I suppose this helps pad their retirement funds. It just makes something so great feel cheap. I suppose you can make the argument that any publicity for this great band is good but I dunno…”
Another legendary band, Portishead, also received backlash for lending their music to a famous brand. In 2017, the English trip-hop electric band lent their tunes to Gucci so that the couture clothing brand could promote their fragrance called “Bloom.”
Gucci made a short campaign film from Portishead’s song “The Rip” which was directed by Glen Luchford. The film featured Dakota Johnson, Hari Nef, and Petra Collins.
Sonic Youth has provided musical content to fashion designer Marc Jacobs in the past. Back in 2008, Sonic Youth performed live at a Marc Jacobs fashion show.
Now, 2018 marks 25 years since the release of Sonic Youth’s video “Sugar Kane,” which was first released in February 1993. The video featured Marc Jacobs and a young Chloe Savigny, according to CR Fashion Book.
In 1992, Sonic Youth asked if they could film in Marc Jacobs’ showroom at Perry Ellis. At the time, Jacobs did not know who the band was but ultimately decided to let them shoot. Marc Jacobs was filming models for his 1993 spring/summer grunge collection.
However, Sonic Youth wanted to have a non-model amongst them. Andrea Linett, the editor of Sassy magazine chose Chloe Sevigny’s for the role. At the time, Chloe was an intern and Sonic Youth loved her anti-fashion style.
The video is now considered to be iconic but at the time, it was considered the “death” of the grunge movement. This also led to Marc Jacobs being publicly fired from Perry Ellis, according to CR Fashion Book. Of course, Jacobs came back to the fashion world with a vengeance and became one of the most respected designers in America.
The music legends frequently collab with Jacobs as displayed in their 2008 show and again in 2015. Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon’s daughter appeared in a Marc Jacobs campaign. Sevigny also became a model for Kim Gordon’s clothing line, X-Girl.