The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > Cafe Society

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 06-26-2009, 08:26 AM
joebuck20 joebuck20 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Michael Jackson and the Beatles catalog

All the coverage yesterday got me thinking about this.
Apparently the Beatles catalog was one of the most, if not the most, valuable assets he had.
But I was wondering, did he still have to pay any royalties to either of the surviving Beatles when one of their songs was licensed? Howabout if Paul McCartney played one of the old Beatles songs at a concert, did he have to pay Michael Jackson for the use of it? Or what if Paul or Ringo or the estates of John or George objected to a song being licensed to a certain entity (like for a commercial product or organization they didn't endorse), could they stop it from being used?

Last edited by joebuck20; 06-26-2009 at 08:26 AM..
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 06-26-2009, 08:33 AM
johnspartan johnspartan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
A lot of that's covered in http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...-music-library

Although I don't know if his ownership status changed between 1995 and... umm... yesterday.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-26-2009, 08:47 AM
E-Sabbath E-Sabbath is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Up The River
Posts: 13,944
Which makes me wonder who Harmonix had to deal with besides the Beatles Collective to get Rock Band: The Beatles out.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-26-2009, 11:10 AM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Looks like he sold them to Sony within days of that column being published.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-26-2009, 04:27 PM
mobo85 mobo85 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
A few months ago, Jackson stated he planned on giving the rights to Paul McCartney when he died.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferret Herder View Post
Looks like he sold them to Sony within days of that column being published.
Quote:
Originally Posted by E-Sabbath View Post
Which makes me wonder who Harmonix had to deal with besides the Beatles Collective to get Rock Band: The Beatles out.
He only sold half the rights to Sony. The Beatles Rock Band features songs published by that joint venture- Sony/ATV Music Publishing- as well as songs published by Harrisongs Music.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06-26-2009, 06:45 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Chicago,IL
Posts: 14,962
Quote:
Originally Posted by joebuck20 View Post
A Or what if Paul or Ringo or the estates of John or George objected to a song being licensed to a certain entity (like for a commercial product or organization they didn't endorse), could they stop it from being used?
In the USA (though the laws vary elsewhere) you can't stop someone from performing your song. But you do have to pay them for the use of it. For example "Weird Al" Yankovic says he always gets the permission of the artist he parodies as a courtesy. As long as he pays the artist royalties they can't stop them.

In practice someone who objects to a certain artist can in practical terms stop it.

For instance, let's say General Motors wants to use a Beatles song. They pay royalties they can use it. However Ringo Starr can say "Gee I wish GM didn't use my song, they SUCK. They're awful."

As for use in charities and such, it's usually not advisable to use a song that the artist is opposed to as the charity still has to pay for the use of the song. Can you imagine if the charity used a Beatle song and Paul McCartney said "I don't think that's a worthwhile cause, I'm sure glad they're paying me royalites on it." Who'd donate to that cause?

Obviously a company trying to advertise a product doesn't want the singer of the song to say "they suck." It's not a smart marketing ploy. In the US, the Supreme Court has ruled that one's opinion is just that, an opinion and a person can say that without fear of being sued and convicted. (In the US anyone can sue anyone)

There are other ways to prevent this. For instance, I have heard of some artists that have in their contracts that they must approve remakes by artists in the same company. Like a song by "Singer X" who is on the Sony lable can veto any other Sony artist from making his song. But that's a private agreement.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06-26-2009, 06:48 PM
mobo85 mobo85 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Markxxx View Post
In the USA (though the laws vary elsewhere) you can't stop someone from performing your song. But you do have to pay them for the use of it. For example "Weird Al" Yankovic says he always gets the permission of the artist he parodies as a courtesy. As long as he pays the artist royalties they can't stop them.

In practice someone who objects to a certain artist can in practical terms stop it.

For instance, let's say General Motors wants to use a Beatles song. They pay royalties they can use it. However Ringo Starr can say "Gee I wish GM didn't use my song, they SUCK. They're awful."
A good example of this involves the Beatles and Jackson: in 1987, Nike licensed the original recording of Revolution #9 for a television spot under license from Capitol Records and Jackson, which offended many.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06-26-2009, 07:29 PM
VarlosZ VarlosZ is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Manhattan
Posts: 5,815
Quote:
Originally Posted by mobo85 View Post
A good example of this involves the Beatles and Jackson: in 1987, Nike licensed the original recording of Revolution #9 for a television spot under license from Capitol Records and Jackson, which offended many.
Nitpick: you mean Revolution, not Revolution 9. The latter would not make for a very good sneaker commercial.

ETA: Alternately, it might make for the most awesome sneaker commercial in history. One or the other.

Last edited by VarlosZ; 06-26-2009 at 07:33 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06-26-2009, 09:13 PM
JKellyMap JKellyMap is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Kansas
Posts: 4,836
Quote:
Originally Posted by mobo85 View Post
A good example of this involves the Beatles and Jackson: in 1987, Nike licensed the original recording of Revolution #9 for a television spot under license from Capitol Records and Jackson, which offended many.
This image just made me laugh! Sneakers crashing into each other like cars, Yoko Ono moaning "I am naked...except for my Nikes!".....

Last edited by JKellyMap; 06-26-2009 at 09:14 PM.. Reason: "Number nine...number nine...and comes in other sizes, too!"
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06-26-2009, 09:45 PM
Lamia Lamia is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Markxxx View Post
In the USA (though the laws vary elsewhere) you can't stop someone from performing your song. But you do have to pay them for the use of it. For example "Weird Al" Yankovic says he always gets the permission of the artist he parodies as a courtesy. As long as he pays the artist royalties they can't stop them.
This is one reason why lame covers of well-known songs (used to?) turn up so frequently in commercials. This practice seems to have become less common within just the past few years, perhaps because more artists are willing to license their original recordings. But I remember I used to sometimes think "I can't believe [band] didn't do anything to stop this pathetic cover of their big hit being used in a stupid commercial!", before I learned that as long as the royalties were paid then the admakers had the right to record a new version of the song whether the original artist liked it or not.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 06-26-2009, 10:24 PM
mobo85 mobo85 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Isn't it generally cheaper anyway to get the rights to a song and do a new version rather than license both the song and the recording?
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 06-27-2009, 08:21 AM
mobo85 mobo85 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
An article about the uncertain future of the Beatles catalog due to Jackson's death.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 06-27-2009, 09:45 AM
Auntbeast Auntbeast is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
An excellent example is at Epcot Center. One of the attractions (maybe Kodak?) uses the song "True Colors" by Cindy Lauper, but most definitely, she does not sing it. And it is a horrible rendition. I imagine that playing that song as many times a day as they do, that not having Cindy sing it saves them metric buttloads of money each year.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 06-27-2009, 12:00 PM
E-Sabbath E-Sabbath is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Up The River
Posts: 13,944
I believe that if you cover a song in such an exact way that it seems to be a carbon copy of the original, the original band has some rights in the matter.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 06-27-2009, 07:12 PM
mobo85 mobo85 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by E-Sabbath View Post
I believe that if you cover a song in such an exact way that it seems to be a carbon copy of the original, the original band has some rights in the matter.
The Romantics sued after one of the Guitar Hero games featuring a re-recorded version of What I Like About You that sounded exactly like the original, but I think they lost.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 06-27-2009, 07:26 PM
cochrane cochrane is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by mobo85 View Post
Isn't it generally cheaper anyway to get the rights to a song and do a new version rather than license both the song and the recording?
It certainly was for Styx and for A&M Records. Styx had recorded the song "Lady" for Wooden Nickel Records in 1972, but it failed to chart. When Styx left for A&M in 1974, Wooden Nickel re-released "Lady" and it rode the coattails of Styx's success with A&M. When A&M intended to release Styx Greatest Hits in 1995, they attempted to negotiate a fee with Wooden Nickel for their recording of "Lady." They were unable to come to an agreement for licensing the recording, so Styx went into the studio and recorded a cover version of their own song titled "Lady '95" for their greatest hits album.

Last edited by cochrane; 06-27-2009 at 07:27 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 06-27-2009, 08:04 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 16,599
Quote:
Originally Posted by Auntbeast View Post
An excellent example is at Epcot Center. One of the attractions (maybe Kodak?) uses the song "True Colors" by Cindy Lauper, but most definitely, she does not sing it. And it is a horrible rendition. I imagine that playing that song as many times a day as they do, that not having Cindy sing it saves them metric buttloads of money each year.
I don't know if you remember, but Kodak used the song in commercials for years. They may not need to pay per performance but instead can pay a fixed fee for use in the commercial campaign. I worked for a dotcom between 1999-2001 that licensed the Beatles's song Help! for use in a commercial. I believe we paid a one-time fee of $3million, although the recording was by someone other than the Beatles.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:29 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.