I have no outright beef generally with good music being placed in advertisements, but I gotta admit shock whenever I hear a band I dig on the TV backing something or another.
I just now saw a University of Phoenix ad featuring the New Pornographers.
And then there's the new VW/Wilco ad:
I can clearly remember hearing Richard Buckner in another VW ad. And the first I heard Devendra Banhart was in a New Belguim ad (I actually discovered the world of music-in-TV-ads message boards searching out what the hell that tune was).
In my mind, the notion of "selling out" as it's usually applied to music certainly predates Napster, if not the mass use of the Internet itself. Between the Net and digital music distribution methods and Clear Channel and the unapologetically dirty world of record label consolidation, things just ain't remotely the same any more.
I don't think that excuses anything outright. But I think there needs to be a new conversation on the matter, including everybody who holds an opinion.
Having met folks from most of the bands mentioned above (if just in the fan-at-a-show way), I can't bring myself to hold a hard line on the subject. Frankly, it just may be a post-modern, anti-anti sort of way of excusing previously DIY-banned behavior, but I reckon the phrase "sell out" is just about done.