Who's making money off of our music?
July 9, 2008 12:38 PM   Subscribe

How do I remove or retract songs by my band that were uploaded years ago and are now for sale from multiple outlets on the internet? We sound different now, for one, but more to the point, we're not seeing any revenue from this, but someone must be.

A couple of years ago, I joined the band I am currently playing with. Before I joined, the previous drummer uploaded some songs to the Internet, probably CDBaby, but that's uncertain now. At any rate, it turns out those songs have somehow proliferated on the Interwebs, to the point that you can now even purchase them on sites like Amazon and the iTunes Music Store.

I would like for those songs to be retracted, if possible, because obviously our style has changed, but what I find most irksome is that apparently, someone out there could be cashing in on these songs and it's not us.

What are the steps I can take to remedy this situation?
posted by monospace to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd suggest a lawyer to draft a demand letter to the sites responsible. However, be sure that you own the copyright to the music in question. To save money, go with a general practitioner rather than an IP lawyer if you can't afford it.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:45 PM on July 9, 2008

Many media sites have forms you can fill out to file a DMCA violation report. As Ironmouth says, though, you should probably make sure you actually have the rights you expect to have, before you start down that road. If the former drummer published the songs somewhere under one of the less restrictive CC licenses, and was authorized to do so, it may be perfectly legit for other people to profit from your work.
posted by nomisxid at 12:50 PM on July 9, 2008

If legitimate sites like iTunes and Amazon have it, there's a good chance someone in your band signed up with a distributor like CDbaby or Orchard. You might want to see if your drummer can turn up any paperwork or account info.
posted by drezdn at 12:55 PM on July 9, 2008

If your previous drummer set up an account with CDBaby and authorized digital sales, then the profits are currently accumulating in your CDBaby account. CDBaby licenses digital sales to a host of other services (ITunes, Rhapsody, etc). Your share of the profits depends on the service, but it typically runs about 60 cents for an actual sale and about a penny per listen.

Typically CDBaby will mail out a check when your balance hits $20, although that threshold is adjustable in your account settings.

If you have access to the CDBaby account, you can opt out of digital sales at any time.

The problem, I suppose, is that if it was a previous band member who set up the account, then any checks are being sent to that person. You may want to check with your former drummer first before you start sending threatening letters to anybody.
posted by tdismukes at 1:14 PM on July 9, 2008

Whoever put them up for you can have them taken down and as Drezdn says, it's probably one of the aggregators like CDBaby. Does your drummer not get any statements from anyone? Since you believe it might be CDBaby, I would start by contacting them first and see if they are looking after the titles. If so, just tell them you want those tracks removed.
posted by gfrobe at 1:15 PM on July 9, 2008

Generally speaking you can't remove things from the Internet that have proliferated to several sources. If you're curious, get eMule and look for your band name.

Also, even though your style has now changed, your old style was what it was. If your style has changed so much that you wouldn't want to be associated with it (eg, used to play Gospel country rock, now play hardcore anarchist punk with techno influences), why not consider changing your band's name?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 9:17 PM on July 9, 2008

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