Press Clips: Monster Lacks License to Ill


The Beastie Boys

Mike D has taken his little horsy Paul Revere to the courthouse where he’ll face another foe that’s packing. But this time, it’s not MCA with a jammy and a license to kill. It’s another monster, as in, Monster Energy.

It all started when Monster hired a mashup DJ named Z-Trip to produce a video for their annual “Ruckus in the Rockies,” a Canadian snowboarding event. Z-Trip compiled a video with images of the snowboarding event and five Beastie Boys songs, “So What’cha Want,” “Sabotage,” “Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun,” and “Make Some Noise,” and finished the video with the words “RIP MCA” for the recently passed Beastie Boy Adam Yauch. Sounds like a good time with a nice tribute, right?

Well, turns out that Yauch’s will includes a no advertising clause and Monster never had permission to use the infamous tracks. So instead of said tribute, we’ve got a lawsuit on our hands.

Another Beastie, Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, testified in the case at Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse in New York. The prosecution seeks damages of $1 million for the song licenses and $1 million for the “implied endorsement” of the video and the company.

Naturally, the Beasties handled the court proceedings in typical Beasties fashion, according to an account from the music publication Spin.

“The Beasties’ side snickered — to our eyes, understandably — when the defense lawyer told the jury, ‘You’ll learn during the course of this case that ‘dope’ … is a positive affirmation.’ And Horovitz cracked a smile or even laughed when explaining some of the basics of the music biz, like what is a single or how the Beasties go about coming up with their songs,” Spin reported.

Speaking of classics, aggregator Food Dive has spotted an interesting trend: the return of classic food brands. Paul Conley writes that the revivals indicate the continued buzz around authenticity. They also represent the “back-in-my-day” narcissism of baby boomer executives.

“It seems that the food industry has grown nostalgic for the products of its younger years, with many companies reviving old-timey brands, many within days of each other,” Conley writes.

A few examples include the returns of Maxwell House, an oldfangled Nestea marketing campaign and even Hydrox, which sounds more like a rival to Windex than Oreos. An optimist could argue that the revivals indicate a shortage of novel ideas coming out of big food and beverage companies. A pessimist could see the revivals as an arsenal of ways to trip up emerging businesses. While you may not fear Charlie the Tuna, vintage brewer Pabst Blue Ribbon could elicit a different reaction.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola is another classic brand, but the American institution hasn’t gone anywhere. Part of that permanence can be attributed to its constant interest in innovation. The company has recently invested in trendy companies like Zico and Core Power. And in February, Coke invested in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, now called Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.

Among other collaborations, the partnership will lead to to the 2015 launch of the Keurig Cold system, which will provide consumers with the ability to create a variety of cold beverages — carbonated drinks, enhanced waters, juices, sports drinks and teas — from the comfort of their kitchen.

Vermont Public Radio took note of analyst opinions and there was a common response to the move: nobody’s surprised.

“The large soft drink companies, Coke and Pepsi in particular are looking for new avenues of growth,” said Bloomberg Industries analyst Kenneth Shea. “They see a big potential for a new channel; that is the home crafting of beverages on the cold side. I think Coca Cola sees this as a risk to not be there. I think it sees Keurig as being the first mover and first movers generally have an advantage to create the market.”