In the latest case of major labels proving that they are completely out of touch with reality, Sony Music has contacted Gummy Soul and presented them with a “Cease & Desist” letter for Amerigo Gazaway’s amazing “Bizarre Tribe: A Quest To The Pharcyde” album. Sony Music owns the rights to A Tribe Called Quest’s catalog and has demanded that the album be taken down immediately or the small (made up of the label manager, the two artist co-founders and a part-time contributor) independent Gummy Soul label will face the wrath of Sony and it’s army of lawyers and litigation.
Now, let us take a quick look at the facts: “Bizarre Tribe: A Quest To The Pharcyde” contains less than 3 minutes of ATCQ material – out of a total 55 minute runtime! – because Amerigo Gazaway is no hack and flipped the ORIGINAL samples that Tribe sourced and matched them up to Pharcyde vocal tracks (you can check out Bonita Keeps On Passin’ Me By here). Anyone (other than a lawyer, I guess) can easily hear the transformative nature of the project and how it clearly falls under the “fair use exception“. Furthermore, while the album stands alone as a work of art, it is clearly a tribute to both bands and will only serve to introduce their music to those who have yet to hear it.
Gummy Soul never charged for the download of the album and yet, as of yesterday, they have been forced to remove the album from their site.
Why should we care about yet another big entertainment conglomerate going after the little guy? Well, do you really want a group of executives and lawyers deciding what you can listen to? What is art? The age of digital music has created a world where great music gets the audience it deserves, but as that continues to further cut out the big business interests that have dominated the music industry those groups will only get more destructive in their attempts to regain control.