There's been quite a righteous kerfuffle going on in my Facebook feed for the past few days as Tuesday Night Music Club alums and Port Townsend residents Solvents tell a story that illustrates yet another pitfall of the digital era of music. Solvents' Jarrod Bramson writes on their website (edited for a bit for brevity and punctuation):
"Recently, it has come to my attention that a so-called "artist" named Aron Lyrd has stolen one of my songs, changed the title, and is selling it on iTunes and Amazon.com. I also found out that he is doing the same things with other bands such as Band of Horses, Math and Physics Club and Belle & Sebastian (just to name a few). Aron Lyrd has HUNDREDS of songs for sale on various websites and as far as I can tell, none of them belong to him."
The saga continues after the jump:
Bramson discovered Lyrd's scheme when he joined SonicBids to apply to play Bumbershoot. He continues on his website:
"I was looking around the site, checking out other services they had to offer. I came across this company that helps artists submit their music to television and movie producers. I was interested so I started looking a little deeper. I noticed that at the bottom of their page, there are comments from artists that have submitted. For some reason or another, I noticed this guy, Aron Lyrd. His profile picture was him in a ninja suit with some nunchucks!
He just made me laugh for some reason. I had to check out his music. I click[ed] on the featured song "Orange Ambititon" on his EPK (electronic press kit) and MY SONG CAME ON!
I thought my computer was fucking up or something...I tried again and again...it was my song "Tangerine"...there was my wife and musical partner, Emily Madden's voice...my sister's voice singing back up.....my voice and piano...MY SONG written and recorded in my living room! I was completely confused...
I kinda became a bit obsessed with the guy and started looking a bit deeper into what he does.
After listening to a bunch of samples of "his" songs and finding Band of Horses, The Searchers' "Love Potion #9" (!!), The Drifters, Belle & Sebastian, and Math and Physics Club, I realized that Aron Lyrd had quite the scam going: Making fake albums with other peoples' songs and selling them on iTunes, Amazon, etc. The vast majority of the songs he is selling seem to be by unknown (to me at least) indie artists."
So far, Bramson has tried to get the songs taken down with little success. He's even reached out to Sub Pop asking for their help, since Lyrd is using their artists' songs, too. Only CDBaby removed the offending material. "I never heard anything from anyone. I contacted everybody at the time," he says. "As far as Amazon and iTunes, it's the same thing. They didn't respond to me or do anything about it."
"The real problem is the fact that Amazon and iTunes don't even know what they're selling. Anybody could put an album on there and it could be someone else's stuff. It's frightening. I work hard on what I do," he says.
Though this has been going on for over a year, the discussion reignited when Lyrd emailed Bramson asking for permission to cover his song. "Out of the blue he emailed and asked if he could license "Tangerine" for his album. He said wanted to cover it."
"You're asking to license a song that you already stole. That pissed me off."
Bramson hopes the increased attention will get the songs removed from Amazon and iTunes. "[Lyrd] doesn't deserve to be there," he says. "He's stealing peoples' tunes. I'm going to try to write [Amazon and iTunes] again and hopefully other people will, too." If you want to support Solvents, their next Seattle show is at Columbia City Theater October 12th, or you can buy a record (do it, they're great) through their website.