Whine about selling out all you want, but if you're a musician who wants to make some serious cash quickly, then commercials is definitely your best bet. However, as with all aspects the music industry, it's important to recognize when you're being played, and when you can stretch the bag even more. Pusha T learned that lesson the hard way, when he helped write one McDonald's most iconic jingles.
In an interview with The Drink Champs podcast, Pusha explains how, despite having received a hefty payday for helping pen McDonald's long-running "i'm lovin' it" catchphrase, he didn't realize how big it could have been at the time.
"I took a super L," Pusha says. "Just upfront, no publishing. Shoutout to Steve Stoute, he gave me the check and I was like ‘Ahhh great,’"
Pusha's name is listed on the writing credits Justin Timberlake's song, "I'm Lovin' It," which was produced specifically for the commercial. Pharrell's original production group, The Neptunes, is credited as having produced the song. Pusha reportedly took a half-a-million dollar take home from his work on the song, but if he had also kept a piece the publishing, it would have been so much more.
"I want artists to know that part. Keep your publishing. That check will be nice, but ‘I’m Lovin’ It' been running for how long now? I did This in ‘03. Who knows what it would have been," Pusha says.
That's a lesson he must have learned quick, as he later mentions that he now owns 40% an Arby's commercial for their new slogan, "We have the meats." Listen to Pusha speak on his experience with McDonalds at around the 1:20:00 mark the podcast.