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Tay Zonday’s “Chocolate Rain”

Cameron Parkins, August 1st, 2007

If you been looking for some new music to sing along to lately, make sure to check out the wonderful “Chocolate Rain” by Tay Zonday. A catchy tune to say the least, Zonday released “Chocolate Rain” on to YouTube under a CC BY-NC-ND licence and has since seen his video reach over 2.5 million views and counting.

Although this is certainly due in large part to the song and accompanying video’s engaging aura, by choosing a licence that allows others to freely redistribute his work without fear of legal issues, Zonday enabled his viewers to share his work openly, adding weight to the the argument that ubiquity, and thus popularity, begets popularity.

On his MySpace blog, Zonday poses an interesting question about collecting royalties for his work through BMI or ASCAP. At this point, “Chocolate Rain” has been featured on both CBS and NBC, and although Zonday would enjoy reaping the rewards from these performances, he worries that joining BMI/ASCAP will enforce performance rights on smaller, less funded, endeavors such as “mom-and-pop cafes, nonprofit radio, and small businesses” (a practice the Seattle Times has a detailed writeup on). In his words:

I want nonprofit radio and small mom/pop cafes to be able to play my music for free. But I also want giant corporations who can afford to give me a dime or two to pay fair royalties. I want a fair piece of commercial uses of my music.

One Response to “Tay Zonday’s “Chocolate Rain””

  1. Sketch says:

    Okay, technically Tay could’ve and can join something like BMI and ASCAP. Under the Non-Commercial useage clause, non-profit businesses wouldn’t have to pay royalties. But CBS and NBC would have to though.