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July 06, 2010


Suzanne Lainson

A very cool idea. But I'd like a few more details (maybe they already answered this in the radio interview, which I haven't had time to listen to yet).

In order to get copyright and licensing fees, does Computer vs Banjo have the remixers submit directly to the TV shows and then list Computer vs Banjo in the credits, or does Computer vs Banjo collect what the remixers have created and then submit these songs to TV shows themselves?

And does Computer vs Banjo use these submissions as is (and then perhaps pay a share of sync fees to the remixers who submit the music to Computer vs Banjo)? Or does Computer vs Banjo rerecord the submissions so they can say that not only did they write the music, they also recorded it?

Music copyright is so complicated that I'm curious how all the various rights are being handled in this case.

David Hooper

It could be done either way. Assuming Computer vs. Banjo gets credit as a writer of the song being licensed, which they should, the performance royalties would happen automatically. It does get tricky though, since the sound recording is also involved... That is actually one of the reasons a lot of "mashup" stuff never makes it in TV shows or films-- too many people to get permission from. http://blog.musicbusinessradio.com/2010/06/episode-123-michael-harrington.html has a little bit more info on how this works.

So, yes, some of the royalty stuff would have to be worked out, but in theory, Computer vs. Banjo would get paid for anything used. In theory... ;) Promotion is definite though.

I'm not an attorney, by the way, so don't take this as legal advice. I focus on getting the music out there and let the other stuff work itself out. :)

Hope this helps!


John Scott G

Nifty idea!

That's why I did it with "Grin Groove" when I released it in 2001. Here's the story:


Nope, I'm not a star because of it, but since I don't play out, that was never the intention. Now, I run Golosio Music Publishing, and I think it all goes back to that alternative distribution method.

John Scott G
(The G-Man)


Ties in great with the recent MBR episode dealing with copyrights. It's a ballsy move, but artists have been doing it for years, now. I remember when Radiohead released their multitrack downloads on iTunes; Ben Folds' most recent release included a sampler of "stems" with multitrack recordings. Projects like this go far, especially in the world of rap. I can think of at least three current Top 40 hits that are strictly "cover" songs. I hope Girl Talk gets a hold of CvB! Great post!

Tom Jones

Giving away or selling stems seems to be picking up speed. I get emails from Beatport and Indaba Music all the time about famous electronic musicians such as Tiesto, Kaskade, etc...having "remix contests". The cost of the stems is usually 3x more than what you'd pay for a regular release. I think the next step is going to be the actual project files with all of the plug in settings etc. Like The Killers did with Spaceman and Apple's Logic. Anything to create a buzz really...

Mike B.

Love the idea of releasing actual project files: I bought Logic 9 partially just to get access to those killers/lily allen/santigold songs. Next time, though, let's make those bands track through consumer-grade mics/pres/converters instead of $100K worth of outboard for maximum user educational value.

I like the idea of releasing stems, too, but it doesn't seem to be as useful for artists doing my type of music (alternative pop/rock); I guess remixers don't have as much fun with those kinds of tracks.

Suzanne Lainson

The concept of making stems available is happening more and more.

The idea of using this to expand sync licensing opportunities is something new to me.

I've placed a few songs in TV shows and usually they want everything as simple as possible. The ideal scenario for the music supervisor is that the same person owns the songwriter's rights, the publishing rights, and the recording rights. Then that one person can give permission. As soon as you get other people involved (e.g., co-writers, publishers, record labels), a lot more people have to give permission and that can really slow down the process.

I was curious whether Computer vs Banjo just gathered up all the remixes sent to them and then said, "Sure we wrote it and we recorded it and we can sign off on everything."


Beau from the band here. Wanted to say thanks to David for the post and to follow up on some of the discussion points.

First in regards to the copyright conversation, yes, any performance usage should happen automatically through our PRO but as for the sound recordings we include this disclaimer with our files: The Remixer will not acquire a copyright interest in the Songs or the Stems. What this means for us is that people cannot exploit the work derived from our stems without our permission. We encourage people to repost and share the results, but if a licensing opportunity arises for the derivative (or remix) it will need to be cleared by all involved parties. There is an obvious leap of faith for us that we will be properly credited but it is a risk we are happy to take. We view the whole experiment as a creative one and we hope that by giving away these stems it will stimulate others to make music.

And on that note, it was great to hear Mike B mention the 'educational value'. As an artist who has to (and loves to) wear the hat of engineer and producer I cant tell you how valuable it has been for me to see someone else's project files. I look forward to any opportunity, regardless of genre or production quality, to take a peak inside a session.

Thank you all for you interest. And if you haven't, check out the our download page and grab some of the music (or stems): www.computervsbanjo.com/download.html

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