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?

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9 thoughts on “UK blues guitarist David Philips says “Red Bull has stolen my music”

  1. While I’m not a licensed attorney, I do have some basic sense for how the law works. Even if a contract states that a promotion is royalty free, this may not necessarily mean that it is public domain, especially for commercial use absent of accreditation. Red Bull seemed to demonstrate some realization of liability, either publicly or legally, when they corrected the crediting of the artist for background music used in their promotional video on You Tube. With a corporation as large and affluent as Red Bull, a token settlement for compensation of damages might be proposed by their legal team, following contact by the artist’s publisher. In this, despite Red Bull’s correction after the fact, damages may have been incurred for the previous views prior to the correction, and even inadvertent negligence is ultimately negligence nonetheless, with regard to the song’s use in Red Bull’s commercial campaign.

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  2. I think the point needs to be made that this video isn’t a blog, nor a podcast nor is it simply a music blog sharing a track about an artist they are interested in. It is a multi-billion dollar company spending thousands (maybe tens of thousands) on a promotional video about an athlete who is sponsored by that company, all ultimately for the promotion of their own brand. It is advertisement for an already household name that, according to the text above, has been featured not only on Youtube but Eurosport. I hope David can get what he deserves for this, which is a lot of money and some well deserved attention.

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  3. @Stephen, thank you for your feedback. I understand that Red Bull is much larger than a blog. However, I’m not certain if the rules for using the song change because of the size of the corporation involved with the product (blog, video, etc.). With that said, I do think that Red Bull goofed in not originally including the song credit info in the video itself as well the YouTube description.

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  4. “should any early lost revenue be simply counted as a casualty of the new music distribution models?”

    Absolutely 100% NO.

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  5. Very simple, this is a promotional video with your music synced to pic. Their logo is all over it. If they had asked you for permission to license you could have easily asked for 40,000 to 500,000 dollars as many artists have. I have provided music for web pieces for Sony Ericsson, Nationwide Insurance, Proctor and Gamble and many others. They pay. In fact I’ve even been paid SAG residuals from work on a web piece that has a SAG lead actress Kristen Schaal. You have a payday coming my friend.

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