Master KG and Nomcebo’s ‘Jerusalema’ became the soundtrack to what became the viral dance sensation that entertained the world during lockdown. Individuals and corporates around the world took part in the line dance challenge and shared their posts on social media but now, Warner Music, who holds the rights to the song globally, had started ordering organisations who uploaded the song to their social media platforms to pay up!
Throughout the lockdown period, airlines, health care workers, businesses and other organisations around the world filmed themselves dancing to the hit track as a way to bring some light into a dark period.
Now, the German division Warner Music has written to many of the organisations who took part in the challenge and has ordered them to pay up licencing fees attributed with sharing the song on public platforms. According to a recent report in the Focus weekly news magazine, some of these fees have amounted to several thousand euros in some cases.
The interior ministry for Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia region said in an interview with AFP that it had “settled claims from Warner Music on behalf of several police forces” in the region.
A spokesman for Duesseldorf University Hospital confirmed to the national news agency DPA it had also received mail from the record label and revealed that it had since taken down its video.
Many have criticised Warner Music’s decision to demand licencing fees from organisations who took part in the challenge but the label has defended its practise. “We love the fact that the fans are getting behind ‘Jerusalema’. But if organisations in Germany use the song to promote themselves, we think they should secure a dubbing licence,” a Warner spokesman told Focus. “In these difficult times, it is more important than ever that artists and performers are paid for their music when it is used by third parties to enhance their reputation.”