Episode 14: The Birthday Song

Episode Fourteen of the Believer’s podcast, the Organist, is now available online.

The Birthday Song, sung every day of the year at birthday parties across the land, is sweet, simple, and 120 years old this year. But it’s also a highly contested piece of intellectual property, pulling in millions of dollars for a large music conglomerate, Warner/Chappell, which charges films and TV shows who want to include the song, and pull the films from the shelves and file lawsuits if they don’t comply. Andrea Silenzi looks at the strange and somewhat tortured history of the song’s ownership, and offers a novel form of resistance to Warner’s hegemony.

This episode was produced by Andrea Silenzi. You can find more information on the Happy Birthday contest at freemusicarchive.org, and listen to free birthday song entries.