Blue Pie Data underneath fireplace from musicians, former staff over claims of utilizing songs with out permission


It’s 2006 and Ann-Marita Garsed, in her early 20s, thinks her goals are coming true and materialising proper earlier than her eyes.

The Norwegian artist’s songs are lastly taking off after travelling to Australia and the US.

An Australian music label known as Blue Pie Data has simply reached out to her asking to incorporate one in every of her songs in a charity compilation to profit hurricane victims and Ms Garsed enthusiastically says sure.

It’s a seemingly tiny resolution that has come again to hang-out the artist for the next twenty years.

“For some time there I used to be very captivated with submitting music to alternatives,” Ms Garsed recollects to information.com.au from her California dwelling. “This was one of many ones that went utterly improper. I’d by no means imagined that this is able to be occurring 17 years later.”

Blue Pie Data requested her to ship her CD together with her entire album on it, and they might extract the music from there. However what they really did, she claims, is distribute a few of her songs on the album with out her consent or information.

Ms Garsed was on the cusp of signing over unique rights with one other file label once they found her music was already on-line underneath the title of Blue Pie and angrily ended the deal.

A information.com.au investigation has discovered she is just not alone, with artists from Australia, the UK and the US making comparable claims in regards to the music firm, headquartered in Moss Vale, in NSW’s Southern Highlands.

Blue Pie Data – a multimedia firm concerned in music manufacturing, licensing, publishing and distribution and with a lot of entities together with Blue Pie Data USA LLC, Blue Pie Productions USA LLC, Blue Vault Digital, Blue Pie Meta Information Companies, Meta Information Content material Companies and Ordior Meta Companies in each the US and Australia — has denied the claims. It mentioned some allegations have been misunderstandings whereas for different instances, that they had the rights to the music.

Information.com.au is aware of of 1 artist who modified his stage title to flee the repute he gained by means of working with Blue Pie, whereas one other claims he missed out on a US$7000 unique file deal as a result of the corporate had posted his music all around the web.

A 3rd artist claims she has been owed cash for years. Blue Pie mentioned it was unaware of this till now.

Within the case of Ms Garsed, it was greater than a decade earlier than they eliminated her music from the positioning.

“It’s such as you’re caught with it (Blue Pie) for all times. It left a foul style in my mouth and numerous mistrust,” Ms Garsed lamented. “I’m terrified that that is going to occur once more.”

The only real director of Blue Pie Data, Damien Reilly, admitted the corporate had dealt together with her scenario “horrendously” and mentioned the Covid-19 pandemic delayed their response.

“She was proper to be upset and we’re sorry for this occurring,” he mentioned.

It’s not simply indie artists who declare their music was used with out their permission.

Some huge names have additionally accused Blue Pie of falsely representing them, together with the Bon Scott property, Fraternity and Wolfmother.

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On the Blue Pie Data web site, the corporate claimed in 2021 “Bon Scott is an unique Head Workplace Data & Blue Pie Data USA artist. Bon Scott is printed by Blue Pie Publishing USA and Blue Pie Data”.

However the firm that manages the Bon Scott property, Sonic Rights Administration, wholeheartedly rejected this declare.

“Blue Pie has by no means had any relationship, affiliation or affiliation with both Bon Scott personally or his Property,” Sonic Rights mentioned in an announcement to information.com.au.

Mr Reilly mentioned the unique rights declare was a mistake because the Blue Pie web site was going by means of an replace and it has since been corrected.

In a newspaper article in 2021, Mr Reilly claimed that an affiliate firm of Blue Pie known as Ordior was reclaiming misplaced royalties for Bon Scott and Aussie arduous rock band Wolfmother.

Wolfmother’s reserving agent instructed information.com.au he had by no means heard of Blue Pie.

On the time the article was printed, Blue Pie claimed to have been in discussions with Wolfmother however mentioned the rock band later determined to go elsewhere.

Blue Pie additionally reached out to The Grape Organisation in 2019 asking to licence Aussie Seventies rock band Fraternity.

However after turning down the officer, The Grape Organisation observed a few of Fraternity’s music on the Blue Pie website and fought to have it taken down.

Blue Pie claimed that that they had not acquired proof of The Grape Organisation’s rights over Fraternity.

‘Copyright Cowboyism’ 

Information.com.au has additionally spoken to a number of former Blue Pie workers members on the situation of anonymity.

One worker described the corporate’s actions as “copyright cowboyism”.

“It was so troublesome working there, you possibly can hear artists complaining (about their music getting used),” James, who labored there throughout the pandemic, instructed information.com.au.

In the meantime, UK artist Alex Martin mentioned he modified his performing title from The Outsider to Alexander Joe Winterbone to distance himself from Blue Pie.

“I needed to change my title,” Mr Martin instructed information.com.au from northern England.

“I stop music altogether, I went again to cheffing and I acquired the hell away.”

He did a music video with Blue Pie in 2005 however claims that afterwards he had movie producers chasing him over unpaid payments. He mentioned the settlement was for Blue Pie to pay.

“I couldn’t get a gig in Sydney, my title’s mud,” he mentioned, including that he moved to Tasmania, after which finally moved again to the UK.

Mr Martin mentioned Blue Pie additionally requested him for a demo tape, which he despatched, all 4.5 hours price of songs. Later, he realised his demos had been posted onto Blue Pie’s web site and different distribution channels.

“They have been demos, they weren’t completed,” Mr Martin mentioned.

One other artist, Phil Munro, claims he had an identical expertise within the early 2000s after being requested to ship by means of some remixes to the Aussie music firm.

“In a while I discovered that Blue Pie had launched these with out my permission,” he instructed information.com.au.

“Anybody who listened to it will suppose ‘they sound like sh*t’. They weren’t meant to be for launch. It’s fairly poor type.”

In each instances, Blue Pie Data mentioned it was unaware the artists have been sad and welcomed them to contact the corporate.

Andrea Marr, an Australian artist, regrets spending $10,000 on a cope with Blue Pie Data.

Ms Marr mentioned she leapt on the alternative in 2014 to pay the file label the cash, the place they’d do all of the advertising and marketing, promotions and producing for her songs.

“I believed that was an excellent deal,” she mentioned to information.com.au.

However as an alternative of serving to her make her personal music, she claims they requested her to sing a remix for an artist within the states. She needed to pay for the recording studio out of her personal pocket, on prime of the $10,000 she’d already paid.

And the kicker? “They by no means recorded my songs,” she claimed.

They did create a web site for her, albeit one she known as “horrible”, which created issues for her area title.

“For years now I’ve been making an attempt to disentangle myself from them. It’s been such a protracted, terrible expertise,” she mentioned.

Blue Pie Data claimed it was an amicable separation and by no means acquired an bill for her studio prices. The corporate additionally mentioned she moved to a different file label and they also have been unable to fulfil the remainder of her contract and file extra songs. Ms Marr disagrees.

After information.com.au contacted Blue Pie Data, they lastly paid her again the $400 she was owed for recording prices going again nearly a decade.

Frank Rogola, a US musician, tried to take motion in opposition to Blue Pie Data however he was instructed he must launch a civil go well with, which he can’t afford to do.

He mentioned Manhattan Data – “one of many largest information on the planet” – approached his band to get the rights to their music.

A band member had not too long ago died and Mr Rogola was happy that they’d be capable of ship a part of the $7000 deal to the widow.

“I believed I’d higher double examine earlier than we do that,” he recalled to information.com.au. It’s right here he discovered his music throughout Blue Pie Data.

Had Manhattan Data found this, “they’d have thought I used to be mendacity to them. It will have ruined my title within the enterprise”.

In the long run he needed to bow out of the deal.

Blue Pie admitted they didn’t have a “direct relationship” with Mr Rogola as he had licensed some songs to a 3rd social gathering with hyperlinks to them.

“Now we have since taken all content material down and will not be conscious of every other points,” Mr Reilly mentioned.

“These issues can occur between labels which have titles of their catalogues with many copyright holders.”

Information.com.au additionally spoke to Billy Lofton, one other aggrieved artist from the states residing in Sydney.

A severance letter he confirmed to information.com.au reveals he tried to terminate his contract with Blue Pie in 2009, however his music continues to be on the positioning.

“I need nothing to f*cking do with you,” he mentioned of Blue Pie. “I went to a lawyer to get my stuff again, they’re nonetheless placing my stuff up, even my new stuff.”

He claims his music movies and even skilled images he’s paid for himself have ended up on the web site.

Blue Pie Data mentioned all Mr Lofton’s songs on their website are underneath an energetic contract and that they weren’t conscious he was sad.

Sporadic cheques

Artists have additionally raised issues about their royalty funds coming sometimes, if in any respect, reminiscent of Peter Noone, an English Sixties pop singer.

Blue Pie “sporadically sends me a cheque …. Final one was 10 years in the past,” he mentioned in an e-mail seen by information.com.au.

“In some way I acquired concerned with this Blue Pie mess and have spent a whole lot of {dollars} making an attempt to extricate myself.”

Then there’s Olanrewaju Obisesan, who makes use of the title Lanre for his music, who signed with Blue Pie in 2007.

“I’ve by no means gotten a cheque for my music, for like 15 years,” he instructed information.com.au.

When he chased them up, Blue Pie mentioned they owed him US$58.

Information.com.au contacted the most important music distribution providers – Spotify, Apple Music, Google, Soundcloud, Symphonic, Deezer and Amazon – to see what motion they might take to cease artists’ music being distributed with out their information or permission.

Solely Soundcloud responded, saying it “forbids the importing of illegal content material, reminiscent of copyright infringing works, in our Phrases of Use and Group Tips” and added that it may possibly take away content material if it receives complaints.

APRA AMCOS, the Australian royalty assortment physique, confirmed that Blue Pie Data is a member however referred information.com.au to ARIA for questions on policing copyright infringements.

ARIA mentioned that Blue Pie Data was not at present a member with them and in addition that it had “little capacity” to take motion in copyright disputes, as all of the duty lay with the musician holding the rights.

The US music physique, known as ASCAP, didn’t reply to requests for remark.

alex.turner-cohen@information.com.au