Moby press photoSo everyone and their mother has, in the past few years (decade?), wanted to license a piece of Moby’s music for a commercial at some point. Or, if you’re not in the Ad World or the Music Biz, you’ve heard Moby behind a tv commercial or in a mall, guaranteed.

And he’s done something quite cool, on the face of it, by offering his library of music for free use in productions such as student projects, non-profits, indie films, etc. (read about it at the Burst Labs blog).

Only one problem… most of the music he’s giving away ain’t all that. I’d go so far as to say it’s boring and banal and blasé and bland and, well, it kinda sucks.

Now I’m not trying to get into a “my-music-is-legit-and-your-crap-isn’t” debate, because there’s no point – and good music is good music – but even die hard fans of Moby have got to be wondering why the majority of these tracks were ever given the opportunity to see the light of day.

I’m all for giving something away, or trying something new, or attempting to make some noise through punk marketing and alternative means… but when you do, these days, you’d better offer something of quality, something people actually want.

And maybe people do want this stuff. Moby certainly gets the benefit of the doubt by being arguably the most successful licensed musical artist of all time, so many will assume these tracks are gold – or not even critically evaluate them. But can you imagine the impact this idea might have had if he’d offered actual killer new material for licensing? Instead, I’m left with the impression that he had a bunch of demos he wasn’t sure what to do with, so why not offer them on a gratis basis?

I’d rather take the time to build something extraordinary, something worth talking about, something your fans and clients will share with friends for the right reasons and with no provocation.

To have a chance of making it in this business, you have to rise above and be more than unique. You have to be outstanding, even if you’re not going to charge for it.