If you’ve seen the recent ad for the hot dog chain Wienerschnitzel‘s Nutter Butter Freeze (screencap above), you’ve heard a snippet of the song “Sweet” by the indiepop band Tullycraft. What you may not know, though, is that the band itself isn’t getting any money from having its song in the ad–and in fact, the members didn’t know about the ad’s soundtrack music at all until recently:
It was brought to my attention a little over a week ago that the Tullycraft song “Sweet” was being used in a television commercial for Wienerschnitzel. I found this very shocking because I knew nothing about these ads.
We hadn’t been contacted by Wienerschnitzel or any agency representing them. After a little research, it was discovered that the record label that had re-issued our first album “Old Traditions, New Standards” had licensed the song without asking our permission or even contacting us about it. Ultimately, I guess this is my fault. When HARRIET RECORDS went under and we were approached about re-issuing “Old Traditions, New Standards,” I thought… “sure!” I didn’t anticipate being told: “Read your contract. We don’t have to ask your permission to license your songs.” I guess I thought that the indie world was different somehow. I assumed that we didn’t practice business like the ugly major labels. More than anything, I hate being disappointed by people who I thought were my friends.
Old Traditions was a 1996 album that was reissued by the California label Darla a few years ago; this is the first instance we’ve heard of a band having its licensing abilities completely pulled out from under them by having their material reissued, although we’re pretty sure it isn’t the last. Of course, back when the contract was signed, the epidemic of indie bands serving as jinglesmiths wasn’t as widespread as it isn’t now, which is why we’re guessing that’s why this little wrinkle wasn’t covered in the negotiations (disclaimer: we are not, and probably never will be, lawyers). But that doesn’t excuse the label’s behavior at all in our eyes–in fact it makes it seem worse, dancing peanut-butter cookies or no. Would a phone call have been too much to ask for?
Tullycraft in a television commercial? [tullycraft news]