UPDATE: AD CHANGED – To Creators of Infiniti Ad: You’ve Ripped Off Ian Curtis and Joy Division

Infiniti Don't Rip Off Ian Curtis and Joy Division

Article, fan support moves Infiniti to Alter Music on Q50 Advert

Jan. 18, 2016 – Thanks to this article by CaliforniaRocker.com and fan support, the car advert theme similar to “She’s Lost Control” has been changed.  The ad was pulled from TV for several months, during which time the electronic drum was softened and the beat subdued. The commercial is back on TV – and the music is different. Original article ran on May 22, 2015

‘She’s Lost Control,’ By Joy Division, Imitated in Infiniti Car Ad

By DONNA BALANCIA — Musicians are having an increasingly difficult time making a living.

It’s understandable that many musicians, ranging from David Johansen, Todd Rundgren, and The Kinks to young Orange County guy Nick Waterhouse license their work to commercial entities.

“Hot Hot Hot,” which Johansen made famous during his Buster Poindexter days is the music on a cruise line commercial, as is “Bang On The Drum All Day,” by Rundgren. A yogurt company runs The Kinks’ “All Day And All Of The Night” while people repeatedly open and shut a refrigerator door to grab a tasty supermarket brand yogurt.

Stephen Morris created the unique electronic drum beat on "She's Lost Control" - Story by CaliforniaRocker.com
Stephen Morris created the unique electronic drum beat on “She’s Lost Control”

The Waterhouse song, “Live A Full Life,” is featured in a Lexus commercial.  At least young Waterhouse got his face into the commercial and showed his band on stage.

In this day and age where consumers don’t believe they should have to pay for music, where illegal — and legal — downloads are the rage, you can’t blame anyone for making a buck by going the ad route.

And while some artists take a beating for “selling out,” in today’s environment, even the veteran anti-corporate crusaders will put their songs on the occasional insurance ad.  It’s not ideal, but it’s a living.

Similar Sound

However, there’s no excuse for blatantly ripping off a musician and using a song so similar and with such similar purpose and intent that it borders on out-and-out theft.

That appears to be the case of the car ad where the person in the car “gains control,” moving from the back seat, where he is a passenger, to the driver’s seat of the car.  According to the ad copy, the car “‘puts you in control’ with Direct Adaptive Steering.”

And of course, when you hear the first few opening clacks of an electronic drum and then the staccato single guitar note, immediately the song that comes to mind — intentionally — is the Joy Division song “She’s Lost Control,” fronted and co-written by the late Ian Curtis. The beloved and humble Curtis committed suicide 35 years ago this week at the age of 23.

Check out the 2015 Infiniti Q50 ad – Changed but still similar:


Joy Division and the late frontman, Ian Curtis. It was announced that his house will be turned into a museum.

Advertising agencies routinely seek out licenses to well-known songs for their clients for a range of products. Sometimes, the cost of the song may be way out of line and they create their own tune that is similar to the song they’re trying to get.

While we wait for comment from both sides, we wonder: What do you think?