Baby Got Back (In the Style of Glee)

January 26th, 2013

This went up in the iTunes store a lot faster than I expected (nice work there Tunecore), and some of you have already found it:

iTunes: Baby Got Back (In the Style of Glee)
GooglePlay: Baby Got Back (In the Style of Glee)
AmazonMP3: Baby Got Back (In the Style of Glee)

I’ve released this track as a single – it should be on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play eventually if it’s not already. It’s a cover of Glee’s cover of my cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s song, which is to say it’s EXACTLY THE SAME as my original version. I’m releasing this under the same Harry Fox license I used for the 2005 release, so Mix will get all the royalties due to him. I’ll donate the proceeds from all sales that happen between now and the end of February to two charities: The VH1 Save the Music Foundation, and The It Gets Better Project. (fine print: iTunes will get their cut first of course, then I’ll deduct enough to cover my licensing fees, and split the rest between the two. iTunes sometimes takes a long time to report sales, sometimes even a couple of months, so I won’t be able to do the math and make the donation until I have the numbers. But I’ll let you know when I’ve gotten the amount and made the donation.)

I’ve been reading your tweets and posts and I’m truly grateful for your support – honestly, this has been a very stressful time, and it means so much to see how many of you are behind me. I’ve been trying to figure out a positive way to channel all this energy. I haven’t asked you guys to take any specific action throughout this thing, but now I am asking: buy the track, give it some stars, leave a comment (please be civil), and tell everyone you can. Call it a form of protest, awareness raising, viral PR hackitude, whatever you like. I don’t know how big this will get, but there’s a potential to make a lot of noise this way – imagine if this thing charts! And failing that, we will create some real world impact by raising a lot of money for two great causes that are directly related to the Glee brand. There’s your win-win.

Maybe this is something that the Glee people would like to give some EXPOSURE. Though, in order to do that they’d have to make some kind of public acknowledgement that I exist. We’ll see! Maybe they’ll even want to match the gesture, and donate all their February proceeds for their version too!

I will have a lot more to say about this situation soon, most likely Monday. Stay tuned…

462 Responses to “Baby Got Back (In the Style of Glee)”

  1. Roderick says:

    Fuck Glee.

  2. Kwaizy says:

    I hope you get more from Aussie sales of the single, cause even with a stronger dollar it’s $1.69.
    I’m not grumbling about the price, just the difference and I’m hoping that the difference isn’t a bigger cut from Apple

  3. aaron says:

    Steve,

    The fact someone violated your copyright doesn’t give you free reign to violate their trademark.

    And we don’t know exactly what happened, maybe Glee has a habit of ripping off everything they can get away with, or maybe this was some junior employee who was up against a deadline and panicked.

    It probably won’t be an issue since Fox and Glee won’t want to piss off the internet, but wilfully infringing on a trademark is something they could really hurt him with, and if the original incident was just some rogue employee he might have less of a case than he realizes with which to fight back.

  4. Sarah-Jayne says:

    You fucking rock Jonathan… Love u dude… I’ll do anything I can to help :) x x Fuck FOX!!!! See you in Manchester England again soon plz lol :)

  5. Professor Incubus says:

    I know that it is for charity, but I wish that there was another way to donate to the charities. Personally I don’t want to buy the song because it would be a constant reminder of how Glee and Fox screwed you over – that and the fact that I far prefer your version of the song over the Glee version.

  6. Angelastic says:

    Professor Incubus: You could always buy the song (thus increasing its ranking in iTunes or wherever, which accomplishes more than just donating to charities) and then edit the tags so that the title is just ‘Baby Got Back’ and the album is ‘Thing a Week One’ and the album cover image is the one from that album. Then it would be just as if you bought the original release of the track, but it would help charity and help JoCo get noticed.

  7. Danconn says:

    I just bought it on itunes. Is it already your highest selling single? It comes up first when you enter your name. That would be awesome. Everyone should buy both versions (I bought the original from your website) that way you can see a something from this corporate attack. Good luck man!

  8. Elinor says:

    On iTunes the song is at 180. The glee version is not in the top 200.

  9. TheRidGE says:

    Two thoughts I had today:
    1) I remember in the comments of the previous post someone mentioning that across all the wikis relating to Glee, that JoCo’s credit was being removed. If this were to go to a court of law, find out the IP’s of whomever was removing that info. if it directs back to FOX, or anyone related with Glee, you can claim that the behavior shown there shows a least a small amount of guilt, and that they were trying to cover up that information. If nothing else, it also proves that they really do want it to be “secret publicity” and your name to never be attached to the song ever again.

    2) Part of this issue is that you don’t own the melody or the instrumentals to the song, so Glee had the right to simply use it. But you sell the instrumental on your site in the form of a karaoke track. Without the lyrics, it isn’t involved with Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot, and therefore you at least own the rights to the instrumental that way. It’s a weird loophole, but that may earn you rights to the instrumental, over the possible use of your performance. The only thing you didn’t sell directly connected with the original song was the vocal melody.

  10. Danconn says:

    Its up to 175 on itunes now. Keep going baby!!!

  11. tunesmith says:

    I’m also curious what would happen if you re-released the song with alternate lyrics. There’d be no BGB left in it. You’d have the whole copyright then, right?

    In fact, it probably *did* exist that way, assuming your vocals were recorded last.

    If you recorded a version with the same background but with lyrics making fun of Fox/Glee, you could release that on iTunes without paying HFA anything.

    Weirdly, if someone else found your individual tracks and then plunked them back in note for note and then sang “blah blah blah” on top of it, they could call it their own original song and not owe you (or mixalot, or fox/glee) anything.

  12. Ryan B says:

    I bought this hoping that any proceeds go to helping your lawyer sue their asses – and possibly a nice bottle of wine or two your way.

  13. Please sue their asses. I HATE copyright infringement. There is no excuse for a successful franchise to crap all over the copyrights of an individual artist. Glee may have paid for the lyrics but the arrangement and melody are original works of your own. Fight it for all the little people if nothing else.

  14. Brett Glass says:

    There’s only one problem with saying that the track is in the style of Glee: Glee has no style whatsoever. Or class, for that matter.

  15. Jason says:

    Bought it, had my brothers buy it, had some friends buy it, retweeted it on twitter, and posted it every which way I can. Also bought the original and two albums.

    “I have no personal beef with any of the people who make or enjoy the show – I’m not angry at the actors or the Glee fans”

    I wish everybody else would take this stand point.

  16. Debdy says:

    Bouught it jonathan. I am a 60 year bb babe and love ur version and so does hubby of 37 yrs who love bb! Esp mine! Go boy!

  17. Tom says:

    Bought your song. I also hope you use the proceeds to sue the shit out of them.

  18. Shawni says:

    SUPPORTING PROTEST BY BUYING WHAT I ALREADY OWEND :)

    I already bought the CD from you at PAX and had no problem re- buying it to show my support for you. I am industry and told you multiple times over several years how much I love what you do for Indie Music. You are a true rock star and my kids love hanging out with you each year.

    What we need is for one of you many followers to convince a friend to get this on national news!

    I hope you sue and stand up for all of those who could not.

  19. Elinor says:

    Up to 161 on iTunes

  20. Courtney says:

    Considers himself a musician, yet YOU need to lift music from other musicians. Good luck with your bar chords and unoriginal music, Mr Independant ‘artist’.

  21. Rachel says:

    Bought your single as well. Good luck!

  22. Gram says:

    Sorry! Music on Google Play is not available in your country yet. :(

  23. James says:

    I understand the law as it has been stated – that the rights to an arrangement do not lie with the arranger but with the songwriter.

    But it seems to me this was NOT an arrangement. Coulton did not simply rearrange the melody. This rap song had no melody, but was mainly spoken, Coulton wrote an original composition. Should not the copyright for that music belong to him?

  24. Craig says:

    I bought the song, shared the blog post, and I also posted a short article about it on Buzzfeed:
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/cclark/jonathan-coulton-shows-glees-creators-what-clas-4l06

  25. nikki says:

    Totally going to buy this when I see the link on AmazonMP3, since you’ve got it currently marked as “not yet.”

    This just proves why independent artists are infinitely amazing. Stupid crap happens because a big name does something wrong (steals or wrongfully sues), and the artist puts proceeds for future sales into charity.

  26. Sydney says:

    @Mandy, KatieK No, we know exactly who Dan Savage is. The guy who says I don’t exist (as a bisexual). The guy who says incredibly hateful things about transgenders. A lot of LGBT people have issues with him because of his bigoted views toward his own community. There are way better LGBT charities to donate to.

  27. JoeHz says:

    Why the heck even mention Glee? They didn’t mention you. If mentioning them, maybe “Coulton Style, the one Glee used without attribution”

  28. JoeHz says:

    Dear Sir Mix A Lot. Please make the Internetz Happy.

    Refund Fox’s licensing fee and cancel their licensing deal unless they give Jonathan Attribution, Credits in the Ep and standard arranger’s fee :)

  29. Travis says:

    You are truly a class act, JoCo. However, it’s only a matter of time before Glee rips off your cover of their “cover” of your cover. This will require you to nest an additional cover that they will rip off, requiring covers ad infinitum, at which point the internet will implode.

    Enjoy it while you can, people. I’m just glad I got to know the true harbinger of the Apocalypse.

  30. We’ve been rooting for you and will continue to do so. Re-releasing your version ‘in the style of GLEE’ was genius and a classy way to fight back. I commend you, sir.

  31. Fishonabike says:

    I’ve had an iTunes account for several years. I think this is the second song I’ve bought through the service in all that time.

    Thanks for making great music, JoCo!

  32. Patrick says:

    I will actually be (pleasantly) surprised if Glee and/or Fox doesn’t issue a cease and desist for stealing their work.

  33. lorne says:

    Great creative use of the song, fantastic work. Sorry this happened to you. I’m a fan of Glee… but this has certainly shaken my faith…

    I wish I could donate to a “Sue Glee” fund – because I’m hearing they have stolen several arrangements and not given credit. This needs to stop.

  34. P.F. Bruns says:

    You, sir, rock.

    I bought it again.

  35. A.k.s. says:

    Just bought the song! I suppose it’s too much to ask for that an artist is compensated for his work. I hope that if nothing else, the support of your fans and the good done to these charities will help counteract the wrong done to you.

  36. PharaohKatt says:

    It’s great that you’re donating to charity, but I wish you’d use a charity other than It Gets Better. Dan Savage is an incredibly hateful person who only supports cis-gay men.
    Thing is, for a lot of us it doesn’t get better, and Dan Savage contributes to what stops it getting better for us.

  37. Kit says:

    JoCo, you are one of my heroes. For you to take such a strong stance without causing an uproar is truly inspiring. I love that you are donating to charity, and I would love to see Fox and Glee rise to this challenge as well, it certainly would clean up a potentially messy situation. Keep making your wonderful music. I wasnt able to make it to PAX Prime this year to see you in person, but my husband bought your newest album and had you sign it for me <3 It is proudly displayed on the book case in my living room for all to see. Ill be purchasing the song, and I look forward to hearing more of your brilliant music!

  38. Professor Incubus says:

    I think that what JoCo should do is, instead of putting their version of HIS song on Itunes and use the proceeds for charity, he should sue fox and use the money that he wins to give to charity. @Angelastic, even if I did all the things that you suggest, I cannot change the fact that someone other than JoCo is doing the singing – and that fact is what would make it a constant reminder of what Fox and Glee did to screw over JoCo.

  39. kj says:

    I think you’ve entirely missed the point here; the release reference in this post is of the original recording by JoCo, not the Glee cast version. Hence it’s a “cover” of their cover of his cover, since they simply just took his cover in the first place.

  40. Jack says:

    As I type this, the song comes in at 145th on the iTunes charts; the Glee version is 243rd, for what it’s worth. (How did I get beyond the top 200? The folded-in iTunes app on the iPhone works wonders.)

  41. Jamie says:

    This is up on Amazon UK now: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00B6JCGRO

    props to Jonathan for being a class act throughout this crappy situation!

  42. R. Kevin Hill says:

    JoCo:

    Long time fan up in Portland. But if you really want to channel that energy, you don’t need to climb the charts. You need to hire a lawyer.

    K

  43. Kris says:

    Up to 144 on iTunes! I’m going to buy more JoCo songs!

  44. grigoriguardian says:

    @Courtney Actually, this is probably one of the very few covers he did. He has written plenty of original music, and there are quite a few bands, famous one even, that do covers of other songs. He has written for two video games. Not only that, he has been pretty good about letting people use his songs as long as there is attribution. Glee did not attribute the cord progression to him, and that is wrong.

  45. j2 says:

    thank you for never relying so heavily on autotune, mr. coulton.

  46. There’s very few opportunities to take the high road in poop flinging legal battle. I am enamored by your decision to help charity and will gladly lend my 1$ to the cause.

  47. Geogal says:

    Very sorry to hear this happened, but I’m glad to see the way in which you’re handling it. Though I’d understand if someone in your situation wanted to sue, I’m glad to see another route is being taken.

  48. OtakuTom says:

    Sitting well at 144 right now. I can’t count the number of copies of this song I’ve bought over the years…at least 4 or 5 between the different albums (or extras with said albums). I hate to say it, but I’ve heard that other artists have had the same thing happen to them with their covers of songs. I’ve never liked Glee, and this gives me another reason to keep disliking it.

  49. TheRidGE says:

    The song is up in amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Got-Back-Style-Glee/dp/B00B6LRX5W/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1359282750&s=dmusic&sr=1-2

    And can I just mention how amusing it is that your version of “the cover of Glee” is available before the official Glee version on Amazon?