Everyone knows the song “Happy Birthday to You“–the Guinness Book of World Records says it’s the most recognized song in English. Most of us sing it several times a year, for free. So it may surprise you that Warner Chappel music owns the rights to the song and charges thousands of dollars for its use in public. They make $2 million a year in royalties from TV shows and filmmakers. But now WFMU and the Free Music Archive are trying to set birthdays to music anew, for free.
The Birthday Song Contest seeks a few new Happy Birthday songs that are simple and catchy, with great earworm potential that can be sung in restaurants, bowling alleys, and even in TV shows and movies – free of charge.