Last night I saw multi-instrumentalist songwriter Owen Pallett play at the wonderful Supercrawl art festival in Hamilton, Ontario. I’d sort of lost track of him over the years, so almost didn’t go, but it turned out he was spectacular. Suddenly, I remembered why I loved him so much after seeing him play my beloved Ford Plant in 2005. Anyway, it prompted me to look him up today, and I noticed this on his Wikipedia page:
In 2007, the song “This Is The Dream Of Win & Regine” was used in a commercial for Wiener Stadtwerke without Pallett’s permission. Instead of litigation, Pallett and his booking agent Susanne Herrndorf approached the company for sponsorship for a music festival of their curation. The resultant Maximum Black Festival featured Final Fantasy, The Dirty Projectors, Deerhoof, Frog Eyes, Max Tundra, Six Organs Of Admittance and others. It played Vienna, Berlin and London.
Now there’s a solution. I have no in-depth knowledge of the situation, but it appears a little sense, creativity, and willingness to not hold grudges and to work with others ended up getting all parties a lot further than getting adversarial would have. And instead of lawyers getting the main bulk of benefit, musicians got paid, fans got value, and even the business who made the original mistake ended up with additional benefit (and probably an amazing project to have been involved in).
Think of it. Someone wrongs you, and instead of hiring lawyers and “suing their ass”, you take an “enemy” and make them a friend and collaborator. More of this, please.
P.S.— If you don’t know Owen’s stuff, I suggest you watch this live video of him playing in a rainstorm.