The song being used in this awesome video is the track, “What Am I”, from The Rooftop Recordings by U.K.-based guitarist, David Philips. It’s a song that David says Red Bull has stolen from him by playing it in the video without his permission and receiving no video credit or compensation.
I was very flattered that they had used my music and so posted the video on all my social media sites etc. Then I found the same video on Youtube, which had already garnered an impressive 250,000 views and noticed people in the comments asking who the song was by.
Why didn’t they know who the song was by? Well because Red Bull hadn’t mentioned me in the credits, nor in the Youtube description box. I called my publisher and he knew nothing about them using the music and assured me they had not asked for permission.
That’s when it dawned on me…. Red Bull had stolen my music!!!
I had to do something about this. The video was getting thousands of views a day, had already been up a week and I needed to get some kind of promotion from all this. So I sent a mail to everyone my mailing list asking them for a favour, explaining what had happened. I asked them to go to the YouTube video and leave comments with my name and the name of the song, so at least someone who was interested in the music could find me and/or my albums.
Well they really came through for me and throughout that day around 25 comments appeared on the video thread, some very angry that Red Bull hadn’t given me credit nor paid anything. This seemed to work as Red Bull promptly put a link to my album on iTunes and my name in the video description.
This certainly helped things along as that song shot up to being my most played song on Spotify the day after and downloads from iTunes went up a lot too. BUT, just imagine how much promotion I lost from the beginning! Eurosport.. Yahoo… 250,000 YT views! Yes, Red Bull had really screwed me over good and proper.
My publisher is still in talks with IODA/Orchard about what, if any, legal action to take. They also put in a claim for the YouTube video to be monetised on our behalf… I’m still waiting to see what happens.
The song credit and at least one digital store “buy link” was, according to the agreement of Promonet (a product the Independent Online Distribution Alliance (IODA)), the main stipulation required to use the song royalty free. I’m personally aware of this because I had to post buy links for songs I downloaded from the same service while producing podcasts and a video for a couple of my former websites. “Podsafe” music services like this were a huge programming help to many podcasters looking to get their show heard. The same sentiments were echoed by guitarist and webmaster Eric Din at his blog:
Promonet was a site that IODA created, which gave bloggers some tools to easily post and promote music in the IODA catalog. The idea was to encouraged people to discover and promote music in the “Long Tail” – the vast, undiscovered or under-discovered bulk of contemporary recorded music. I used it extensively, posting links to hundreds of records and promotional free mp3s that I found there over the years.
IODA and The Orchard, a New York-based independent music and video distribution and sales company, merged in 2012, and The Promonet service was shut down by The Orchard on March 1, 2013.
So while I’m not sure if this will be seen as a theft from Red Bull, I do wonder if there a new agreement that must be reached in light of Promonet’s closing to continue using the song. And, in light of the increased downloads and plays that Mr. Philips received (thanks to his fans pushing the song credit info in the comments at YouTube), should any early lost revenue be simply counted as a casualty of the new music distribution models? What are your thoughts?