Did Pharrell Williams Plagiarize Happy Video?

Pharrell Williams Happy music video plagiarized Anne Marsen’s dancing video as seen on Vimeo in 2011.

Did Pharrell Williams Happy music video plagiarize Anne Marsen‘s dancing video as seen on Vimeo in 2011?

Happy is almost a shot-for-shot reproduction of this dancer's 2011 video "Girl Walk All Day"
Happy is almost a shot-for-shot reproduction of this dancer’s 2011 video “Girl Walk All Day”

 

In this video, the dancer shows how Happy was almost a shot-by-shot reproduction of Marsen’s 2011 video titled “Girl Walk // All Day.” Her video showing the theft is titled “Pharrell Likes My Work.” But it’s so close, it seems like she has a decent case for copyright infringement. Or at least warrants a public apology or acknowledgement by Pharrell and Yoann Lemoine, the creative director of Happy’s music video.

Pharrell Loves My Work from Anne Marsen on Vimeo.

 

 

Four Alternatives to Sonos Music: Stream Your Music to Speakers

Can’t afford a Sonos? Here are some cheaper DIY options and hacks. Stream your music via your existing speakers/stereo via a Beep, Rocki or a low-cost tablet.

connect phone to stereo system to play and stream music wifi bluetooth

So your phone is holding  your music collection and access to your online radio stations. And you have boom boxes, speakers and old amplifiers sitting around… depreciating. How do you connect them via Bluetooth or Wifi so you can stream your music in full sound?

Sonos sounds great, but aren't cheap. Especially if all you want is to activate your exiting stereo.
Sonos sounds great, but aren’t cheap. Especially if all you want is to activate your exiting stereo.

If you’re an audiophile with excess cash, the Sonos Play 1 is a $199 Wifi amplified speaker that is easy to use, sounds great, and fairly portable. I have one of them and the $299 Sonos Play 2 , and they come with an iPhone/Android app that allows me to stream Pandora or my saved music from my phone or laptop. SONOS does have a way you can connect to your existing speaker/amp, but it’s even more expensive than the one with the speaker (it’c called a SONOS connect). Note that you need one $44 SONOS bridge for to get started, and that Bose is also catching up with the Soundtouch.

So what if you don’t want to spring for a new amplified speaker? What if all you want is the ability to connect your phone to your existing stereo system? Here are four less expensive options.

  1. The real poor-man’s solution is my do-it-yourself speaker kit. But you’ll have to live with the frustrating range limits of Bluetooth. And some of the Wifi options are not that much more expensive.
  2. beep wifi speaker aluminum ashtrayAlternatively, you can wait for a Beep , which is a retro-looking metallic device that will connect your existing speakers to your digital music. Beep, created by some Google alumni, says it makes all your speakers wireless, but it doesn’t have an amplifier. But if you have good speakers without an amp, here’s an $18 amp that sounds like it should cost $100.  Beep is not available yet, but the pre-orders are $99. No shipping date announced on site (at least that I could find). Here’s a Cnet review.
  3. rocki speakerThe Rocki is very similar to the Beep, but also not yet available. Personally I like the Beep’s look better. To me the Rocki looks a bit cheap, although one critic says the Beep looks like an aluminum ashtray from bowling alleys, turned upside down. Touche.
  4. And here’s a clever Wifi audio hack. Buy a crappy tablet (like this iView Cyberpad at NewEgg)  and connect it to your existing stereo system via its headphone jack. This would also work if you have an old iPhone. But I don’t believe you can control it via your existing phone.

Here’s an article that also shows you how to stream tunes via an AppleTV or Miracast if you’re an Android user.

More Music Sources for YouTube Videos

Hard to find free, royalty free music. There's free. Then there's royalty free. But a lot of royalty-free music is not free. See?

It can be difficult to find decent, royalty-free music without paying a fortune. Here are some new options if you’ve had your fill of Kevin MacLeod:

  1. DanoSongs has a bunch of instrumental background songs, ranging from acoustic and orchestra to pop and country. Scroll down on his site to hear and download clips.
  2. Shockwave-Sound has a bunch of songs and sound effects.
  3. JewelBeat has a nicely organized collection for various uses — world, motivation, video games, humor. They sell in $99 packs, but are available for individual download for 99 cents.
  4. Smartsound: it allows you to customize songs using a drop-down menu.
  5. PartnersInRhyme has some expensive sets, but a few free tunes with no royalties.
  6. DiggCCMixer is a “creative commons” search engine that allows you to search its library with an option: “free for commercial use.”
  7. The Music Bakery has nice royalty-free music, but it’s fairly expensive. But, really…. 5-seconds for $34?
  8. http://JoshWoodward.com has tunes (thanks Urgo) and some nice covers on YouTube.

Be sure your license allows you to post on YouTube when you’re earning money on your videos (which is considered commercial use).

And some additional sources for free, royalty-free music:

YouTube Goes Music, Music, Music

It's just like this, only the radio is a laptop, and everyone's in a different room wearing gym clothes.

YouTube has agreed to pay licensing fees with the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), which represents about 3,000 independent music publishers (LA Times). This deal is consistant with Vevo’s success, the significant percentage of music videos topping “most viewed charts” and the all-new YouTube.com/music (see promo video).

YouTube music vevo channel
YouTube "Music" Debuts: click to see promo video

YouTube, friends, is your new radio station, MTV, iTunes, Pandora, Jango, Live365. I’m Sirius.

This advances YouTube’s partnerships with music publishers to “monetize” user-generated videos that contain music written by artists represented by the NMPA. The four major labels (EMI Music Group, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment) already have separate licensing contracts with YouTube.

What’s relatively new is that these deals cover synchronization rights on behalf of songwriters. Yes, folks, this means independent musicians singing “covers” of a licensed song will be providing a percent of their ad-generated income to the owner (sorry jaaaaaaa). The terms of the royalty payments, however, are confidential. This, of course, is more than fair. Shouldn’t the guy who wrote the timeless classic, “Never Gonna Give You Up” get a chunk money from the ads that surround Rickrolls?

NMPA agreed to drop its class-action lawsuit against YouTube filed in 2007, but members of NMPA have until mid-September to decide whether they wish to opt out of the licensing agreement with YouTube or continue to pursue legal action against the video platform on their own.

 

 

My Best Video of 2010: Epic Kid Song Mix

I was excited to be in last week’s BarelyPolitical “Man Bat & Catwoman video” with Obama Girl, and post Mark’s obscenely-funny faux “behind the scenes.” It was great to be in Gay Leprechaun by Mediocrefilms. Fantastic to play the knife on Annoying Orange too.

But as far as my own videos go, this “Shnibl” remix video is the peak of my 2010. I can’t stop watching it. The backstory: My 6-year-old son, Charlie, grabbed an old camera yesterday, and did a little song and vlog called “Shnibl Show.” It made no sense, and that was its charm. After showing it to my wife and older kids last night (Katie and Patrick), we all roared with cathartic laughter we needed. Then I tweeted the following… and then there was this surprising response:

Last night's tweets led to this spontaneous collaboration of an ear worm.

So who is this masked man we call “songadaymann,” who sent me this lovely remix of Charlie’s song? He’s Jonathan Mann, also known for SongaTron and via his YouTube channel Rock Cookie Bottom. He’s been writing since he was 12 (just 6 years after my little Charlie), as he shares in his own fascinating bio video.

Most recently you may know Jonathan from his daily songs — the Paul Krugman tune as seen on TV, and the iPhone 4 Antenna Song played by Steve Jobs before his Antennagate press conference in July (2010) and wildly covered during the media hysteria that was iPhone4G’s launch.

Sure I knew about Jonathan, but I never imagined he new me — much less that he followed me on Twitter. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine he’d a) see my Tweet, b) turn Charlie’s little jingle into a killer remix in hours. And it’s friggin’ awesome. It’s like Beatles meets Partridge Family meets hip hop. I had considered writing MysteryGuitarMan (who wrote the Nalts theme song), but was pretty confident he’s too busy and high profile for such a silly thing. Plus I didn’t want to try to hard… I was kinda hoping one would just appear.

This just in- Katinatreesee does the shnibl choir!

What do ya think? While I have your attention, I’d value your feedback in comments (I’m back to reading ’em) on my new YouTube channel design. It may not lok like it, but I’ve been fussing with it for about 6 hours (solo).

Galaxy Girl Dances A Smile on Your Face

Hours ago I hadn’t heard of the Samsung Galaxy (an iPad that isn’t an iPad), and now I want one.

I teased Samsung in my last blog, um, post, and SlatersGarage pointed out this delightful video I’ll probably watch 30 times this week. this is such a happy video, and thanks to Slatersgarage for sharing it. I can’t keep up on all the viral ads myself. 🙂

I’ll go to my grave urging brands and agencies not to pin their online-video marketing strategy on “going viral” or chase the exception. But every once in a while someone succeeds… It even followed PC Week’s rules.

If I return my iPad and buy this Galaxy thing… will that music play in my head, and will everyone follow my every dance step? It’s funny how the joyful, musical celebration distracts your brain from another less positive interpretation of this video… we’re all techno lemmings and we’ll follow the innovators even if they drop and fall. But that’s okay! I can be a lemming and be joyfully aware that I am, right?

Dramatic “Royalty Free” Music Sites

If you’ve worn out Kevin MacLeod’s Incompetech, but looking for free, royalty-free music here’s a new alternative… some dark, intense, orchestral and dramatic options. Check ’em out: http://www.jewelbeat.com/

Also a bunch more courtesy of YouTube’s BattlefieldDoktor via JourneysofLifeBooks:

http://ccmixter.org (click here to search royalty-free for commercial use tunes)
http://incompetech.com
http://freepd.com
http://www.jamendo.com
http://soundsnap.com
http://theslip.nin.com/
http://www.dance-industries.com
http://www.tbtmusic.com
http://www.newgrounds.com/audio/
http://www.audionautix.com
http://www.music4yourvids.co.uk
http://www.nathanwillsmusic.com

Let’s Create a Source for Free Royalty-Free Music

Let’s help build a killer index for FREE royalty-free music. Ever search for free music online? How about royalty-free music? It’s hard to find good stuff. Now let’s complicate it further. Free, royalty-free music? Nearly impossible.

But the need is there, and the benefit is high for:

  1. Viewers/listeners: Who can discover new talent, and enjoy videos without hearing the same ridiculous loops from every editing software package.
  2. Video creators: Who can stick to what they do best, but create better videos with the help of talented usicians.
  3. Musicians: Who can gain exposure from the large audiences of video creators. What a great way to market your work. If I was a musician, I’d certainly offer a few songs for free (in exchange for credit), and I’d market myself to popular video creators in hope that they’d use my tunes and credit me. I do this often, but it helps when musicians are aggressive (and talented).

Kevin MacLeod, the infamous talent behind Incompetech.com, has changed YouTube forever by offering his music for free AND royalty-free use. That means we “partners” can use it without fear of the copyright police. We want to use good music (not just our own attempts to score via Garageband or other layman tools.

Offering free music, of course, is a generous gesture by MacLeod and others, but also a brilliant marketing strategy. As I’ve written before, I’ve commissioned custom music from MacLeod to thank him… and he was fair on price, excellent in quality, and extremely fast in turnaround. It put MacLeod on the map, and is a smart strategy for any talented musician looking for fast and free exposure.

Kevin’s friend Frank Nora is offering HOURS of his music without any cost and for royalty free use. He doesn’t ask for credit, which makes me want to credit him even more! Kevin has a few other friends who have taken his approach to marketing their talent. I hope to include their websites to this post.

Are you aware of other musicians who offer their music for free? Let’s create a one-stop showcase for them, and see if we can push it up on Google for searches for “royalty-free free music” or “free royalty-free music.” If it already exists, please let me know!

Currently Google searches like those yield a lot of websites that promise it, but are actually selling really cheesy, outdated collections of canned gunk. The kind of thing that is almost bad enough for a parody of a corporate video, but not quite bad enough.

Thanks musicians! Thanks video creators that help publicize these talented musicians and make videos that are more fun to watch. And thanks to you WillVideoForFood peeps that can help make it easier to find ’em.

Lady Gaga Improves War Morale: Telephone Music Parody

Lady Gaga is contributing to the morale of US troops in Afghanistan thanks to her “Telephone” song, which is becoming a viral sensation. Courtesy of TheSmokingGun and YouTube, we can enjoy some soldiers doing an entertaining remake of Lady Gaga’s hit. Hmmm. War and Lady Gaga. Not sure it’s the next “wedding dance” but certainly better than seeing a marine tossing a puppy off a cliff.