Regardless of the film’s controversial plot – Joker, The R-rated box office, about the descent into violence of a socially isolated man, was recently criticized for including a song by convicted pedophile Gary Glitter in its soundtrack.
Much of the public outcry has centered on whether Glitter – who is currently serving a 16-year prison sentence for sexually abusing three young girls in the late 1970s – will benefit from the timing of his classic 1972 “Rock and Roll Part II” jock jam in a pivotal scene. The answer is complicated.
As the Los Angeles Times first brought to light, because Glitter sold his recording and publishing rights to the song years ago, he doesn’t directly receive any sync fees or royalties for most of the song’s streams , which rose to 1.5 million within a week of the film’s release. Released on October 4, compared to 133,000 the previous week, according to Nielsen Music.
But there is a smaller source of revenue that could still be directed to Glitter’s pocket: digital performance royalties from the song’s non-interactive streams on Pandora, SiriusXM, and other webcasters.
By law, these royalties are collected by the rights management organization SoundExchange, which then distributes the money primarily to the main artist and the owner of the recording, which is usually the record label. If Glitter is registered with SoundExchange, it should receive these payments.
A representative for SoundExchange declined to reveal Glitter’s registration status, which is standard. “We currently collect and distribute royalties on behalf of over 199,000 recording artists and copyright owner accounts,” SoundExchange wrote. “In order to protect their privacy, SoundExchange does not disclose their registration status or share any of their royalty information.”
Neither Glitter’s stage name nor his birth name Paul Gadd appears on SoundExchange’s online search for unregistered artists with pending royalties, which seems to indicate that he is on record. (“Rock and Roll Part II” co-author Mike Leander is not eligible for payments because SoundExchange only handles royalties for artists and copyright holders, not songwriters.)
Thanks to Joker sync, the sum of Glitter would be slightly higher than usual. Scheduled streams of “Rock and Roll Part II” reached 6,000 for the October 4-10 follow-up week, a 17% increase from the previous week, according to Nielsen. Without the Joker boost, the song normally generates around 5,000 scheduled streams per week.
Glitter, 75, was sentenced to prison in 2015 for attempted rape, four counts of indecent assault and one count of having sex with a girl under 13 between 1975 and 1980. But Even if an artist is behind bars, SoundExchange says that as long as the artist provides an address and direct deposit information, they will continue to deposit funds unless a court order blocks the exchange (again, as required by law).
If an artist is not registered with SoundExchange, the organization will continue to fundraise for a period of three years, after which the money is redistributed among the other artists.
Likewise, Glitter probably still collects performance royalties for “Rock and Roll Part II” as a songwriter. This is because the way performing rights organizations generally operate, it is difficult, if not impossible, for an artist to cede their entire share of the performing rights: half is paid to the publishers and the other half to songwriters. It follows that Glitter, which is affiliated with PRS for Music, would be paid whenever the song receives a “public performance”, such as when it is played in a bar, on the radio, at a sporting event or on television, where Joker may end up ending.
It’s no secret that “Rock and Roll Part II” has been a favorite in sports stadiums for decades. The National Football League effectively banned stadiums from playing the song after Glitter’s 2006 conviction, but the rule hasn’t always been strong: after Glitter’s version was banned by the NFL in 2006, a revival was still used and even adopted like New England. Patriots touchdown anthem. Just days before the Super Bowl in 2012, the league had to rush to stop the Patriots from using the song in the big game. No such ban has been established by the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, or the National Hockey League.
Meanwhile, a source close to Warner Bros. Studios tells Billboard there are no plans to delete the song from the Joker soundtrack or future versions of the film, contrary to recent reports. And the only official soundtrack currently available to listen to is the music for the film.
Snapped Music has owned Glitter’s main recordings since January 1997, while Universal Music Publishing Group acquired 100 percent of Glitter’s publishing rights for “Rock and Roll Part II” decades ago. BMG has represented Leander’s publishing share since 2009, when it acquired Crosstown, which included Leander’s catalog under Palan Music.
A Snapped Music spokesperson declined to reveal how much Warner Bros. paid for the sync, but said between $ 100,000 and $ 200,000 is a “good estimate” of what it costs to clear the master and release a great studio movie – a big sum of which Glitter will not see a dime.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.