Music News

The Re-Recordings Lawsuit

Head over to iTunes and download yourself some classic Def Leppard from the 80s.  I’ll wait.

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You gave up, did you?  That’s wise because songs like “Rock of Ages” and “Pour Some Sugar On Me” and “Rock Brigade” aren’t available on iTunes.  At least the original versions aren’t.  Blame it one some kind of weird publishing dispute between…well, I’m not sure who.  But it’s obviously ugly.

And don’t blame Def Leppard.  They’d LOVE for you to be able to buy digital tracks of their old songs.  What they’ve had to do instead is re-record the old tracks again, thereby creating new master recordings.  They can put those songs up on iTunes–if anyone wants these reasonable facsimiles.

It’s not just Def Leppard, either.  And because it’s not just them, there’s a lawsuit. From The Hollywood Reporter:

Musicians are going back to the studio to re-record old hits. It’s an open secret of the music industry, but a new lawsuit contends that consumers aren’t being told they’re getting “poorly re-recorded songs” when buying compilation albums.The defendant in the proposed class action lawsuit is Tutm Entertainment (d/b/a Drew’s Entertainment), which has sold albums including Hits of the 80’s and Hits of the 90’s. The albums feature songs like “I Think We’re Alone Now” byTiffany, “Cult of Personality” by Living Colour, “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice and “I Wanna Sex You Up” by Color Me Badd.

But in New Jersey federal court, Celeste Farrell is leading a proposed class of consumers taking issue with the packaging. “Instead of conveying the source of the recording to allow the consumer to make an informed purchase decision, Tutm provides no information on the Albums’ cover or back label to indicate to the consumer that the songs are not the original songs,” says the lawsuit.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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