About 2 weeks ago I had a Australian facebook friend who was ranting about some small time Record Label taking one of her original songs and putting another name on it, and then uploading it online for the purpose of sales. She’s in the heavy metal genre and she had just released the song a day or two before when she discovered that she was being “song sharked”. She said that her lawyers were taking care of the situation but I’m not sure how it all played out.
The song that was stolen didn’t seem exceptional by any means. I actually thought it was pretty forgettable. I have a hard time seeing how anyone is going to make much, if any coin from thieving music like this, especially in a genre like Metal. Fans of Heavy Metal bands and most genres want to dig into the artists brand, image and personality before they commit to buying. Maybe there are Record Labels that steal songs from far and wide and then compile them into digital records. Is it possible that if they steal a huge amount of songs they can make a bit of money?
It just seems to me that in this modern age of music, it must be hard making money as a scum bag, Song Shark? Anyone have some thoughts on this?
Oh, and how the hell does the average artist/ songwriter protect themselves from this kind of thing? Not everyone can afford music lawyers?
PS. I’m not sure this topic is in the optimal category. Moderators, please move it to the correct category.
I think I would be kind of flattered if anyone thought something I’d done was even worth stealing…
I might be too, but I would rather cash in on it than having someone else take the accolades and money.
I have never had this happen to me that I know of, unsurprisingly. I have a hard time believing that any of these guys are making any significant money by doing this. If they are making money, they are probably doing it by stealing 10,000 songs and making 50 cents from each one. It hardly seems like something an individual songwriter should bother worrying about. How much work is it going to take to recoup your $0.50? Labels are the ones that should be worrying about that sort of thing.
On the other hand, if these guys are in fact making real money from songs, then we should all be waiting in line to talk to them to figure out how they do it.
That’s what I’m guessing too.
If a popular artist rips off your song, then they could make some good money from it but it’s more likely that the artist who was stolen from would be much more likely to find out about it. At that point it would be the unknown little guy against the famous, powerful artist. The little guy wouldn’t likely have the best attorneys or the energy for a prolonged battle.
Actually happens a lot , specially in the streaming world. Specially with popular covers and soundscapes. The money for these scammers comes from submitting copyright claims on unsuspecting composers. The digital royalties add up if done on a large scale. 4 of my tracks a few years ago had received a copyright strike from some weird label and I had not noticed for a long time. After a while I realized that this weird label was monetizing my tracks on youtube and any possible streaming platform. Once I realized what was happening I submitted a dispute to youtube and won.
I have heard it happen to a friend of mine who sang a cover song that got crazy popular but didnt make much money because song sharks claimed it early and made thousands from it. The video had a good few million views before he was able to fight and take control back. Today due to the digital revenue sharing , if your song is claimed by some digital signature, you wont even know unless you watch like a hawk. This can happen if you use free loops or other samples without reading the fine print. You release a song with a simple drum loop and a year later the loop maker decides to " cash in " by filing a digital copyright in bulk. Many times these digital signatures can be spoofed by scam artists and they find a loophole to keep doing it.
Some services like cdbaby help fight this stuff but you have to pay more for full digital distribution but there are self serve ways to protect your royalties. Needless to say its a lot of work