Indie Band Recalls and Destroys Album Over Unauthorized Use of a Cars Song
Once again, the issue of unauthorized use of music originally made by classic rock artists is in the news. Indie band Car Seat Headrest have had to recall and destroy physical copies of their upcoming record, Teens of Denial, because one song, "Just What I Wanted/Not Just What I Needed," contains elements of the Cars' "Just What I Needed" without having gotten clearance from the band.
The news comes via Pitchfork, who say that the group's label, Matador, went through the process of securing the rights several months ago. However, according to Matador's press release, they were "told last week that the publisher involved was not authorized to complete the license in the United States, and that Ric Ocasek preferred that his work not be included in the song. Matador regrets that it was not informed of this much earlier, and has made changes to respect Mr. Ocasek’s wishes."
Teens of Denial had been scheduled for release in both physical and digital formats next Friday (May 20). In order to have a digital version ready in time, band leader Will Toledo said, in a statement, that he "spent the last 48 hours working on an alternate cut of the track, which is now called 'Not What I Needed.' It’s not merely an edit - it is its own thing, about half a minute longer than the original track, and goes in a much different direction." The group hopes to have the physical copies ready in July.
Five years ago, R&B/hip-hop star Frank Ocean released a free mixtape that included a track, "American Wedding," in which he rapped new lyrics over the master track of the Eagles' "Hotel California" without having received permission. A year later, as the mixtape grew in popularity, the group caught wind of it and had the song removed from the Internet and, according to Ocean, threatened to sue him if he ever performed it. A spokesman for the band denied that they considered litigation.
You can hear Car Seat Headrest's demo of "Just What I Wanted/Not Just What I Needed" above and, while the beginning and ending clearly appropriate "Just What I Needed," it's unknown if, on the finished version, they had sampled "Just What I Needed" or they incorporated their own take on it into the song.
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