Thursday, December 31, 2015

17 Hundreths of a Cent, Please

Rights to music were very much in the news in 2015.

The royalty juggernaut Happy Birthday to You was ruled to be in the public domain. (Performance rights to HBtY were a big enough deal that Aaron Sorkin made it a plot device on his first TV series, Sports Night.) Streaming service royalties for non-paying subscribers were increased from $0.14 per 100 plays to $0.17 per Federal Court ruling. And, musicians' advocate David Lowery filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of songwriters for copyright infringement by streaming services.
In the wake of all this legal maneuvering, what the world really needs is a copyright-protected replacement for Happy Birthday—pertinent, popular, and personalized. Something relevant every day, not just once a year. My modest proposal is a set of lyrics to the Android OS built-in ringtone Morning Flower, often chosen for alarms and calendar notifications. To wit:

Time to do some stuff.
Now it's time to do some stuff.
Oh, yes! Oh, yes! Oh, yes!
It's time to do some stuff.
(Insert name here), it's time to do some stuff.

(Lyrics © 2015 Thomas G. Dennehy.)

  • Don't fight it. You've already memorized the words, and can't un-learn them.
  • 75% of the lyrics to HBtY are the sentence "Happy Birthday to You." The new refrain, "Time to do some stuff" contributes roughly 80% to MF. Right on.
  • The (Insert Name Here) timing may not be considered friendly to a diverse population. I've worked in engineering organizations all my career, and my polysyllabic-named colleagues all have 1- or 2-syllable Delta Tau Chi names that everyone calls them. These will work here.
I encourage you to use these now-copyrighted lyrics for all future notifications. Normal streaming rates apply. $0.0017, please.

             Vinyl-to-Digital Restoration #68             

Artist: The Beatles
Title: The Beatles
Genre: Rock
Year: 1968

On December 24, 2015, recordings by The Beatles were finally made available on streaming services. On December 28th, NPR reported that a majority of streams were being played by listeners under 35, only slightly older than the original albums. Among the enduring tracks on The Beatles (aka "The White Album") is their contribution to annual commemorations, Birthday. You're already signging it in your head. Don't fight it.

© 2015 Thomas G. Dennehy. All rights reserved.