Music Re-Recordings: Inferior or New Classics?
Most of us consider music to have reached its prime during the days of our youth. Be it the 60’s, the 70’s, or even the 80’s, music of one’s formative years is arguably the best a person will ever hear. Today’s music just doesn’t cut it. Instead, we download the songs of yesteryear on iTunes or have our Sirius/XM radios perpetually set on the 90’s channel. (Those were the days.). Others go so far as to purchase “as seen on TV” compilations like “We Love the 80’s” or, better yet, “Monster Ballads.” After all, who could ever complain about having the world’s greatest music in one accessible CD? Believe it or not, there is actually a proposed class of angry music-lovers who have filed a new lawsuit in a New Jersey federal court against Tutm Entertainment (d/b/a Drew’s Entertainment), the producer of the monumental “Hits of the 80’s” and “Hits of the 90’s” albums. Why is the proposed class so angry? According the the complaint filed by Celeste Farrell, the named plaintiff for the proposed class, purchasers of these albums aren’t getting the classics they grew to love but, rather, “poorly re-recorded songs.” Specifically,Farrell alleges:
Instead of conveying the source of the recording to allow the consumer to make an informed purchase decision, Tutm provides no information on the Albums’ cover or back label to indicate to the consumer that the songs are not the original songs.
We here at Abnormal Use have not listened to these albums, so we cannot comment on the quality of the re-recordings and cover versions contained on them. But, we don’t see how anyone could really complain about any recording of “Ice, Ice Baby,” whether it be the original or a new version? That said, when people fall in love with a song, they fall in love with a particular version of that song (usually the first version of it they ever heard which, of course, is typically the original version). Anything else might as well be “new music.” We can understand purchasers hoping to get the same when buying these compilation albums.
Whether Tutm’s conduct in selling these albums without a disclosure is fraudulent, however, is another question. Sure, Tutm may have known purchasers would expect the original recordings. But, they also may have thought people could be equally as excited about new recordings of the classics? After all, isn’t Motley Crue still touring? Whatever the case, we’re not sure that covers of “Jessie’s Girl” or “Take on Me” should be litigated in federal court.