Are you ready to hate Pitbull during the next two months of the 2016 NBA Playoffs? OK, maybe that’s a bit harsh. Pitbull has his fans.
But nothing will get sports fans to become more weary of a song and direct outrage at the artist who performs it than having it play through multiple commercial breaks during a game telecast. Think of Kid Rock’s “Born Free” during the 2010 MLB postseason. Bruce Springsteen’s “Land of Hope and Dreams” was another song widely mocked during the 2012 MLB postseason. (Of course, that derision came from fans, not sportswriters. Sportswriters love Bruce Springsteen.)
So if you watched TNT’s opening coverage of the NBA Playoffs this past weekend, perhaps you noticed a new tune from Pitbull trying to worm its way into your ears. The song is titled “Bad Man,” and also features (or “feat.”) Robin Thicke, Blink 182’s Travis Barker and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry. If you haven’t heard the number yet, you can give it a listen below. But if you’re a NBA fan, you’ll be hearing it plenty.
Pitbull actually debuted the song during February Grammy Awards, but it didn’t receive radio play, nor was it pushed much online. According to the International Business Times‘ Max Willens, that’s because “Bad Man” was engineered for a specific purpose. A song like this is designed to be consumed in bits and pieces while being played frequently on television. Getting that exposure on TV is crucial in standing out from all of the other competition on Spotify, YouTube, Pandora and iTunes. Not coincidentally at all, this is big business for all of the artists participating in the song. Pitbull, Thicke, Barker and Perry all have albums coming out this summer.
“Syncs like these aren’t just looked upon favorably,” entertainment attorney David M. Ehrlich told Willens. “They’re actively sought. These types of mass media exposure opportunities are like gold.”
Pitbull knows the gold that can be struck, as his “Timber” was the song of the 2014 NBA Playoffs. That was so successful for him that he people associated with the league know that he’d love to do it again if the opportunity presented itself. Getting the other artists to play on the track helped his chances of being selected again.
Though this whole circumstance shouldn’t surprise anyone, it all seems a little bit gross, doesn’t it? It’s far more appealing to believe that producers heard a particular song, or perhaps had it recommended to them, and decided it would be a good fit for a postseason TV package. Obviously, that’s not the world we live in. TV time is crucial. Look at how artists fight for a gig on Dancing With the Stars, American Idol or a Friday concert appearance on morning shows like Today and Good Morning America. And if you know how to play that game, like Pitbull most certainly does, then we get him performing the song we’ll hear over and over again from now until June.