Beastie Boys Make A Rare Exception And License A Song For A Joe Biden Ad About Live Music

It’s not often that you hear a Beastie Boys song in advertisements, and there’s a good reason for that. In his will, the late Adam Yauch (aka MCA) declared, “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, in no event may my image or name or any music or any artistic property created by me be used for advertising purposes.” So, the group’s songs don’t pop up in commercials much, but it does happen every now and then. Viewers of Sunday’s Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns game may have noticed that “Sabotage” could be heard during an ad for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.

The ad was thematically appropriate, too, as it was focused on how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted live music venues. It features Joe Malcoun — owner of Ann Arbor, Michigan venue the Blind Pig — discussing how shutdowns have impacted his business.

A Biden campaign spokesperson noted the group has “never licensed music for an ad until now,” but they were cool with “Sabotage” playing in the Biden ad “because of the importance of the election.” That part about the group having “never licensed music for an ad until now” isn’t quite accurate: “Sabotage” has appeared in ads for both Star Trek Beyond and Destiny 2, for example.

Watch the ad above.