May 8, 2012

HOW MAD MEN LANDED THE BEATLES: ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE (AND $250,000): I loved the use of “Tomorrow Never Knows,” one of the Beatles’ most innovative recordings under the montage at the conclusion of Sunday’s episode of Mad Men. The New York Times notes, “As with most transactions that involve the Beatles, that usage did not come cheap:”

According to two people briefed on the deal, who were not authorized to speak about it, Lionsgate, the studio that produces “Mad Men,” paid about $250,000 for the recording and publishing rights to the song. That is an appropriately high price, several music and advertising executives say, since many major pop songs can be licensed for less than $100,000.

Mr. Weiner declined to discuss the licensing costs, but said: “Whatever people think, this is not about money. It never is. They are concerned about their legacy and their artistic impact.”

Covers of Beatles songs turn up in various media, but the band’s own recordings are rarely heard on television or in films. The surviving Beatles and their heirs are known to be very picky licensors, turning down almost every request.

Aside from songs that have been played in the occasional commercial or the Beatles cartoon series that was shown on ABC in the 1960s, the use of “Tomorrow Never Knows” on “Mad Men” is likely one of the only times that a Beatles track has been used in a TV show, music and advertising executives say.

Other than a verse and the chorus of “All You Need is Love” being played near the beginning of the climactic episode of Patrick McGoohan’s groundbreaking 1967 TV series, The Prisoner, which apparently the otherwise pop culture-obsessed Times seems to have forgotten.

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