During a 1965 press conference, Bob Dylan infamously disclosed the only product he’d ever consider selling out for: “Ladies’ garments.” Nearly 50 years later and he did just that. Fans went nuts. Of course, logically, there is absolutely no reason to get upset over product endorsements; most pop singers earn a good chunk of their income solely from ongoing relationships with other industries (Britney Spears co-judging the X Factor, for example). The difference is nobody is concerned with Spears “selling out” because she was always a sell out, so to speak; unlike Dylan, or Passion Pit, or the bevy of esteemed artists that will one day put aside their vanity for a taco.
Sufjan Stevens is the latest indie jewel to cause a minor disruption with a well-timed product endorsement. His song, “Redford (For Yia-Yia & Pappou),” can be heard in a new Red Bull commercial (featuring some pretty gnarly shots of extreme sports!). The eccentric singer posted the video on Tumblr with the following disclaimer of sorts:
Selling out never looked so good. But someone had to pay for all that Christmas confetti. Forgive me Mark Bittman. My love yet remains with yia yia + pappou, shining in perpetual light.
It’s all in good fun, though he does reference Mark Bittman, the New York Times food columnist who wrote a piece questioning the ethics of celebrities endorsing soda products. Watch Stevens’ Red Bull commercial below.