If you discover one of your songs will be featured on a music series aimed at pre-teens, you have two options: A) feign indifference and hope it all goes away, or B) raise a fuss in an attempt to kill the project.
It should be noted that option B only works if you are the most successful emo-punk act on the planet. Fall Out Boy’s new beef is with the producers of Kidz Bop 10, the latest in the mega-successful series of albums featuring groups of youngsters “reinterpreting” the top radio hits of the day.
It all started last week when the track list for KB 10 was posted on KidzBop.com and made the rounds on message boards. The list included Fall Out Boy’s “Dance, Dance” — an odd choice, considering the tune’s overtly sexual lyrics (sample line: “I only want sympathy in the form of you crawling into bed with me”).
The online outrage prompted bassist Pete Wentz to address the issue on his FallOutBoyRock.com blog.
“I’ve gotten one million e-mails and IMs about ‘Dance, Dance’ being on Kidz Bop,” wrote Wentz, who was just announced as an MTV Movie Awards pre-show host (see “Rihanna, Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz To Host MTV Movie Awards Pre-Show” ). “Here’s the answer: We don’t know what’s going on, because they can use a song without your permission. However, I can’t imagine some young kids singing ‘crawling into bed with me’ and all. If they change the lyrics, I believe they need to get permission. We’re looking into it.”
Turns out, Wentz is correct. The makers of Kidz Bop don’t need to get an artist’s permission if they decide to use a song on an album; they simply pay publishing fees and move on. The only time an artist’s permission is needed is if the lyrics of the song are changed. No one from Kidz Bop or record label Razor & Tie ever contacted the group.
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“We knew nothing about this,” Bob McLynn, Fall Out Boy’s manager, told MTV News late Tuesday. “Pete called me from England over the weekend and asked me what was up. I think he saw something on the ‘Net. You can cover someone’s song without permission as long as you pay publishing. If you change the song/lyrics, then you do need permission, [but] nobody has contacted me as of yet.”
Early Wednesday morning (May 31), Razor & Tie spokesperson Carise Yatter told MTV News that “Dance, Dance” will no longer be included on Kidz Bop 10, due August 1. Yatter added that the track list posted on KidzBop.com was a tentative one and has since been replaced by a new list.
“Songs are frequently added or dropped from the albums in the weeks leading up to the release,” she said. “We want the album to be as current as possible, so we make choices to reflect that.”
When asked whether the decision to ax “Dance, Dance” was motivated by Fall Out Boy’s objections or the song’s content, Yatter said, “No, not at all.”
Just because Fall Out Boy bristled at being included on Kidz Bop, Wentz said, doesn’t mean the band is opposed to having their songs covered by kids.
“I think that music for kids is an amazing thing, [but] I really don’t know anything about Kidz Bop,” Wentz said in an e-mail. “I remember being really into Raffi and Cat Stevens when I was really little. I just think that monitoring content is very important.”
For more on Fall Out Boy, check out the feature “Pete Wentz: The Boy With The Thorn In His Side.”