I just came across an article in The Guardian about a company called Lyrics Culture (follow the link so I don’t have to quote the whole thing). Their idea is simply to stick lyrics on T-shirts and clothes and sell them. So? So not much, except for one thing. They have come to an agreement with the publishers and are actually paying the songwriters for the right to use the lyrics. I’ve often said that lyrics were the untapped goldmine of the music world. So it’s nice to see someone come up with a way of using them. But without wanting to be a killjoy, it’s worth pointing out two things…
The article bills this as, “Could jeans save the music industry?” I quote: “My goal is to save the music business,” owner Hanna Rochelle Schmieder told the Associated Press, full of humility. “This is about generating new revenue streams for musicians. The record companies take a piece of the tour and the merchandise, but they can’t take a piece of this.”
The idea of one-off T-shirt sales saving the music industry is almost laughable. Also, if you look at the catalogue, you’ll only find clothes from the most popular songs in the world – hardly the people that are short of a few pence to buy a T-shirt. Plus, the idea that record companies “can’t take a piece of this” is disingenuous as the record companies are the ones that made these tunes huge in the first place. Instead of the record labels, it is their publishing companies that will get a slice of the pie.
By the way, on a similar line, you’ll find a famous quote from Elvis Costello in our Lyric Goodie shop too.