Mayor wants city to fund music video promoting Madison

Soglin's budget proposes $50,000 to produce video
Mayor wants city to fund music video promoting Madison

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin is proposing spending $50,000 to produce a music video promoting arts and culture in Madison.

Soglin said if the video goes viral, it could mean big business for the city. But not everyone is behind the idea.

The idea was inspired by a YouTube video that went viral in Grand Rapids, Mich., when city leaders and residents lip-dubbed a 9-minute video singing “American Pie.”

“I took a look at (the video) and said, ‘There’s a couple things wrong with it, and we could do better,'” Soglin said.

The mayor’s budget proposes $50,000 to produce a music video promoting Madison.

“When there’s a potential for getting 5 million hits on YouTube, what it says about our city when it comes to marketing, I can’t think of a better way of spending our money,” Soglin said.

But some city leaders said they think the money would be better spent in other ways.

“It’s priorities. It’s what comes first, and for us, the funding for the Overture Center comes first,” said Susan Schmitz, of Downtown Madison Inc.


The mayor’s office is no stranger to viral videos. Some may recall former Mayor Dave Cieslewicz’s cameo in the Madison-based Web series “Chad Vader.” But Cieslewicz said he thinks the money from Soglin’s proposal should go elsewhere.

“In a budget as tight as this one, spending $50,000 on a lip-syncing video probably isn’t the best investment in our funds. I’d rather see that money invested in neighborhoods,” Cieslewicz said.

Soglin pointed to millions of dollars invested in new neighborhood centers as proof his budget numbers are going to appropriate projects.

“I’m getting a little sick and tired of people saying because you’re spending money in one place over here, it means you’re ignoring things over there,” Soglin said.

Soglin said he believes producing a video could reap economic rewards in the future.

“I can’t say this is going to be a guaranteed hit, but I do think Madison is well-known for its music,” Soglin said.

For now, it appears there aren’t enough members of the Madison Common Council who support the mayor’s proposal.