See 7 commercials that rip off indie artists - The Strut

See 7 commercials that rip off indie artists

Artists getting ripped off in commercials is a practice that dates back probably even farther than the 1988 Tom Waits lawsuit. He won 2.5 million from Audi because this commercial tried to sound like him (easiest lawsuit win ever). Recently, it seems like a lot of indie artists have been the target. Who makes these? Is there a team of ripoff musicians in a secret ad agency lab churning these songs out? I used shazam on the songs and the only one that came up was the Beach House ripoff. It says the song is by a band called Sniffy Dog. According to wikipedia Sniffy Dog is a production group, but it doesn’t say anything about their secret lab. See the seven commercials below and compare for yourself:

The Black Keys

Pizza hut commercial:

The Black Keys – Gold On The Ceiling

Beach House

After getting turned down by Beach House for weeks the ad agency went ahead and put out this Volkswagen commercial:

Beach House – Take Care

Grizzly Bear

Troy University commercial:

Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks:

Fleet Foxes

Kipsta commercial (Do you think they hired the guy from Feel Foxes Sing?):

Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal

Arcade Fire

Microsoft commercial:

Arcade Fire – Wakeup

The xx

Nokia commercial:

The xx – VCR:

LCD Soundsystem

T.G.I. Friday’s commercial:

LCD Soundsystem – Daft Punk Is Playing At My House


  1. Remote//Remote

    May 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    ‘creatives’ are always looking to undercut the original artists by paying less for a ripoff version of the song they want.

  2. Kate Digilio

    May 25, 2012 at 3:45 am

    There’s a new Guitar Center spot that uses a Vaccines-ripoff. Always sad stuff to notice.

    • Mate Digilio

      June 8, 2012 at 10:10 am

      I thought the vaccines were the biggest rip-off themselves. One minute they’re a folk band called JJ Pisotlet or such then all of a sudden he’s grown his hair a bit, borrowed some guitar lines & hey-presto… Just saying like x

  3. Jules

    June 5, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Can’t remember who it was but Sigur Rós’s Hoppípolla constantly gets ripped off in adverts…

  4. Gaspradnb

    June 5, 2012 at 1:47 pm

  5. ChrisC

    June 9, 2012 at 1:05 am

    Hey folks. Just wanted to drop a note here. I was the director of the spot for Troy University in the above story. I and Troy take honor and hard work very seriously. We had no clue that the song used was such a clear infringement on Grizzly Bear. A young “composer” produced the track for me, for payment, and I thought it sounded really catchy. 

    The same day that I saw a post on Pitchfork (google alerts) comparing the two songs, I and Troy pulled 100% of the commercials off the air and web and I issued a public apology to both Grizzly Bear and the indie community for the error. There was absolutely no malice or attempt to rip them off made intentionally… i just trusted a freelancer when I should not have. I am a huge supporter of independent artists and talent in my work and feel terribly that this happened. I am trying extremely hard to get that video (no clue how a student in Viet Nam got it) off Youtube. 

    Since, I have truly come to like Grizzly Bear… But I still heave a bit when I hear Two Weeks..

    Thanks for the airwaves

  6. jocky jocks

    July 7, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    I make music for adverts and often you get sent briefs where they want you to basically emulate a song and get pissed off and keep sending it back if it’s not identical bar a few notes. The use people like me because they can get away with paying me £500 but have to pay artists 15,000+

    • Sean Gill

      August 21, 2013 at 11:39 am

      My thoughts exactly. I see listings like that all the time in services like Music Dealers. It’s a catch-22. Emulation isn’t stealing, and those of us who aren’t famous gotta eat, too. But it’s also kind of shady on the part of the companies asking for these songs because they want everything on the cheap.

  7. chrisoposnow

    July 26, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    I want to go to Pizza Hut after seeing that commercial. Is that pizza real? HOLY SMOKES!

  8. Oqsy

    June 20, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    Just heard a blatant xx “intro” ripoff in a commercial. So sickened by this trend.

  9. Adam Wasilewski

    January 2, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    You’ve got no idea what indie is.

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