from the purple-haze dept
Ah, the insanity of music licensing. There’s apparently a biopic of Jimi Hendrix being made, starring Andre Benjamin (better known as Andre 3000 from Outkast) in the leading role. Of course, with a Hendrix biography, you’d think that the real star would be the music — but in this case, there won’t be any original Jimi Hendrix music in the entire movie, because Hendrix’s estate has said that it won’t license songs unless it has some sort of say in the production. The producers don’t want that, so they didn’t even ask to license the music. The film, instead, will make do with new versions of cover songs that Hendrix did along the way.
This is, in many ways, ridiculous. Part of the point of recording and retelling our cultural heritage is the use of the actual music that made it happen. Even the Hendrix estate finds the moviemakers’ position confusing (though, it doesn’t indicate if it would license the songs without creative say in the flick). Part of the problem is the ridiculous setup of music licensing today. You can do a cover song with compulsory licenses (i.e., without permission), but that’s only for audio. Doing video gets you into sync licenses and other issues that require permission. And this is what you get in a society that locks up culture: a movie about Jimi Hendrix that features exactly none of his original music.