San Diego’s TV Girl made a national splash last year after releasing their Todd Rundgren-sampling song “If You Want It” on Bandamp. With its forlorn musings and bubblegum charm, the track had all the hallmarks of the digital millennium — seemingly spontaneous creativity, a new twist on something
lame old, and what felt like fair use.
Those weren’t the only qualities that made the track emblematic of our times, apparently. Earlier today, Warner Music Group/Rhino sent takedown notices to blogs and other websites that had offered the song for free. All removed the track promptly, and while some people seemed a little confused about who exactly Warner represented, the takedown notice was a bummer to all.
In response to the confusion, TV Girl issued a statement apologizing for the inconvenience, explaining that the royalty folks didn’t even attempt to bargain, and expressed hope that we’ll still pay attention to them even though Todd Rundgren’s no longer in their band. We certainly don’t give a shit. TV Girl is a talented duo, and we look forward to their future efforts.
Statement from TV Girl on WMG Copyright Notice
Hello (It’s Me). This is Trung and Brad from TV Girl. Today we were unpleasantly surprised to find that the Warner Music Group started making good on their promise to remove our music from the web. Several blogs reached out to us after receiving takedown notices regarding our music. We noticed that you posted our music, so we thought we would reach out to give you a heads up and give our two cents.
Just to clarify, TV Girl had nothing to do with the takedown notice. We have no affiliation with Warner Music Group or any other songwriting association or record label. The copyright claim is on behalf of Todd Rundgren for the use of a sample from his song “Hello, It’s Me”.
Even though it’s a bummer that our particular song is being silenced in this way, we feel that this is representative of a larger issue that will only get worse as blogs continue to gain influence over an increasingly desperate music industry.
When the song started getting really popular late last year, we reached out to the copyright holders to get the sample cleared so that we could avoid this mess. Their responses were completely unreasonable. To give you an idea, one company demanded 100% of all proceeds from any money made, in addition to us paying a $5,000 clearance fee. Basically they were saying: “Fuck you, we have all the power, either pay us or take the song down.” Because we weren’t making any money off the song anyways, and because it had already spread around the net thanks to blogs, we declined their offer.
The fact is, because of the amazing independent promotional capacities of music blogs and sites like Bandcamp, it’s increasingly unnecessary for bands like us to align ourselves with major labels or music companies like WMG. Our use of the sample easily falls under the protection of “fair use”. WMG’s actions are a rather blatant attempt to bully independent artists and blogs into playing by their rules. It’s easy to see tactics like this becoming more common as the industry continues to shift.
Obviously, we wouldn’t recommend keeping the song up if there’s any chance of your site being affected. We just thought that you and your readers might want to know about this issue as it directly affects every band, blog, and music fan operating outside the mainstream music machine.
Thank for listening, and feel free to post about or reprint this e-mail. We are truly grateful to all the blogs and fans that have supported us.
-Trung and Brad