Since you ate my royalties…

Seen any good yogurt commercials on TV lately?

Is anybody hungry?

(I can’t believe I just did that…wow.  Where will the year go from here?)

Of course I’m mentioning the Yoplait ad that features none other than Hungry Like the Wolf as background music. This is no teensy snippet of music, it’s literally the focus of the ad. If you miss it, well…I’m no doctor but a hearing check might be in order.

In addition to seeing the ad on TV a couple of times, I’ve seen all sorts of discussion on the topic, ranging from “Hey, I LOVE the new Yoplait ad!”, to “Oh Duran Duran – how could you?!?” Both responses to be expected, of course.

What strikes me, as “Rhonda, the average Duran Duran fan”, is the sheer amount of people who believe that the music is the solely band’s, to do with as they wish. As I shared with a few people on Twitter this weekend, my Music Rights and Law class was about 20 years back, but I do have basic memories that may or may not be completely applicable in this situation, but I can share what I remember. When a band signs with a label and records music for that label, the label typically owns that recorded version that is released on their label.  Granted, there can be all sorts of caveats and exceptions here – but that’s the basic deal. Maybe they throw it all on a compilation album 10 years past the fact, maybe they decide to remaster and re-release the music twenty or thirty years later. Maybe they decide to license the music to a yogurt ad…the point is, the label owns the recordings, at least in large part. Did you notice that I used the word “recordings” rather than “music”? That’s because performances, such as live performances are completely different.

Someone asked if the band receives royalties on this sort of thing. I believe it would be fair to say that:  A. I have no idea so anything I say would be complete speculation. and B. It is indeed possible, depending upon the contract they have with the label in question. If you remember correctly – several months or even a year back now John Taylor was chatting with Katy and had mentioned that they would really like to get their entire catalog onto one label.  There are very good reasons for doing that moving ahead, and one reason is so that they’re able to address all of this and have the same deal for their entire catalog of music.  Make sense?

Is anybody hungry now?

(TWICE.  Twice in the same blog post and we’re not even through the first week of the year yet…)

-R

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