Everybody knows that picking the right song is key to making a good ad. If you're rich, you can afford to use basically any song, too, unlike the rest of us desperately searching for "royalty-free music." But having money doesn't mean the artists will actually let you use their work. Recently, Mark Zuckerberg joined the ranks of rich dudes getting owned by a band, this time thanks to Pink Floyd's Roger Waters.
While speaking at an event in support of Julian Assange, Waters, a founding member of Pink Floyd, told press that he got a letter from Facebook asking for permission to use the band's 1979 classic "Another Brick in the Wall, Part Two" for an Instagram advertisement. Per Rolling Stone, Waters said, "It arrived this morning, with an offer for a huge, huge amount of money. And the answer is, 'Fuck you. No fuckin' way.'"
Waters told the crowd that he denied the request because he doesn't want Facebook to get "more powerful than it already is." He read aloud from a portion of the letter that Facebook sent, in which the company said, "We feel that the core sentiment of this song is still so prevalent and so necessary today, which speaks to how timeless the work is."
"And yet," Waters told the crowd, "they want to use [the song] to make Facebook and Instagram more powerful ... so that it can continue to censor all of us in this room and prevent this story about Julian Assange getting out into the general public?" (Rolling Stone noted that Facebook did not respond to their request for comment on Waters's allegations.)
Given that Facebook is a global behemoth, the company and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, often make headlines. Still, it's always nice when that headline isn't about a major data breach that led to millions of peoples' information being harvested (*cough* Cambridge Analytica *cough*), political misinformation, or some other scandal. Instead of being yet again screwed over by Zuckerberg and friends, we're the ones who get to laugh a little today.
This is far from the first time that a musician has so vehemently and publicly responded to a request to use their music. Zuckerberg joins the company of men like former President Donald Trump, who pissed off musicians so much that you can compile an entire list of his rejections. Who can forget when the estate of George Harrison responded to the use of "Here Comes the Sun" — which Harrison wrote for the Beatles — at the 2016 Republican National Convention, tweeting, "It's offensive and against the wishes of the George Harrison estate. If it had been 'Beware of Darkness', then we may have approved it."
Still, Waters's remarks about Facebook and Zuckerberg were definitely among the most zealous as far as rejections go. In addition to slamming Facebook and Instagram (which Facebook owns), Waters went on to diss Facebook's predecessor FaceMash, which Zuckerberg made in 2003 to rate the appearance of women on Harvard's campus.
"How did this little prick who started out as, 'She's pretty, we'll give her a four out of five, she's ugly, we'll give her a four out of five,' how did we give him any power?" Waters asked the crowd. "And yet here he is, one of the most powerful idiots in the world."
To be honest, Facebook even asking to use a Pink Floyd song is kind of ballsy. Earlier this year, Far Out magazine reported that Pink Floyd "famously refuse[s] to allow their creations to be used for commercials unless it was for a good cause". And sorry, but the only good thing to come out of Facebook ever are the groups where people roleplay as Baby Boomers, ants, and other weird stuff.