Digital Music Era Ushers In New Rights for Veteran Studio Musicians

DALLAS--()--Paul Harrington, a leading session player on harmonica based in Rockwall, Texas, today announced that after a lengthy quest he has received digital session royalties for the Pitbull track, “Timber,” featuring Ke$ha.

“This type of royalty is often overlooked”

Mr. Harrington was hired in 2013 to record the song’s signature harmonica riff, which kicks off the song and weaves through the entire tune. While he was compensated a meager amount for his time, Mr. Harrington, as with many session players, did not realize that there was money left on the table – a little known royalty owed to session musicians for digital airplay. Bandmate and attorney Eric Zukoski advised Mr. Harrington that he was entitled to collect this digital session royalty, which was enacted as part of the Digital Performance Rights Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Mr. Harrington was originally told that he could not recover any royalties since he was not listed on the session logs. The two persevered and in May of this year Mr. Harrington received a digital session royalty check in the high five figures, which the two hope will be just the first of many.

“This type of royalty is often overlooked,” said Mr. Zukoski, a partner at the Dallas law firm of Quilling, Selander, Lownds, Winslett & Moser in Dallas. “We are in a digital music era that is essentially ushering in new rights for veteran studio musicians. And while it took us nearly two years to recover what is legally owed to Paul, it has been well worth the effort.”

The Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act of 1995 (DPRA) is a U.S. law that grants a performance right in sound recordings, resulting in royalties, for the first time, for the label, featured artist, and session players for spins on digital cable and satellite radio. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) extended the DPRA to webcasting.

“Timber” peaked at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 for three consecutive weeks, and also topped the charts in many other countries, including Canada (where it stood at number one for eight consecutive weeks), the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark. According to the IFPI, the song sold 12.6 million units worldwide in 2014.


Big Noise Communications
Narciso Tovar, 214-725-4631

Release Summary

After a lengthy quest, Paul Harrington has received digital session royalties for the Pitbull track, “Timber,” featuring Ke$ha.