The Tyranny of Happy Birthday
Mike Dronkers / Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 @ 10:24 a.m.
Let's face it. That song could use a reboot. Besides, its copyright-holders are weirdly aggressive when it comes to making sure they get paid. So, the Free Music Archive is holding a contest to "unseat Happy Birthday to You from its cultural throne by composing possible replacements."
The song "Happy Birthday To You" is the most recognizable song in the English language, but it can cost independent filmmakers an estimated $10,000 to clear the song for their films, and it will remain under copyright protection in the United States until 2030. This is a major stumbling block hindering the creation of new works of art. It's time to shake (or at least unsettle) Happy Birthday from it's fortified cultural throne, and replace it with a melody that the children can sing without fear of being served.