Music has always been used by power (religion, politics, multinationals…) to lead people’s emotions like the Pied Piper of Hamelin leads the rats. There is nothing as powerful to create emotions and appeal to the subconscious as the music. That’s why we, as musicians, have a big responsibility in how our work and our music is used. Also music is one of the most beautiful, delicate and universal languages of humanity. It is the most pure expression of beauty, it’s also one of the few things that makes me admire and respect humanity.
Of course, as musicians, we have to make a living, we have to earn money. But when somebody wants to book me or use my music, I always ask all info about the event or what’s is it going to be used for. I have to feel I agree and I want to support their cause. Otherwise I prefer to play in the streets. They are going to plant a seed in the audience’s heart using my music as a vehicle! Not in vain, our music will provide “soul” to their event, product or film or whatever. And it will help to reach deeply their audience’s heart. So I want to be sure I want to help them to reach them with their message.
A college of mine once told me “If they pay me, I sing their song. I don’t ask.” Provably he wouldn’t sing the song of AfD (racist German party) no matter how much they pay. Which actually means there are some limits. So, what are your limits? That’s what matters. I think every citizen should have strong ethics concerning basic issues, but as musicians we have a much bigger responsibility, since we have in our hands a very powerful and potentially dangerous tool: music. It depends on how it is going to be used.
Sometimes we can commit mistakes, or maybe we agree with BMW and the way they treat the environment, their workers and the message they spread. That’s fine. But we should take this decision consciously and assuming our part of responsibility.
For me, advertisement is the devil. The big companies are monsters who will never stop their forward motion no matter what’s in their path. They have to grow endlessly and distribute dividends among it’s shareholders. They will step on human rights, dangerous species, forests, or weaker cultures… But they have the money to create the most touching and beautiful advertisement campaigns using as a background they music which will make the whole thing work like charm.
They will never have my music unless I love what they do. No matter how much they pay, I will never sing their song if it’s not mine too.