In 1988 I released an instrumental Christmas recording Inside Fezziwig's, The Spirit of Christmas Past on Kicking Mule Records. Inside Fezziwig’s received great reviews as well as national and international airplay.
A couple of years later Inside Fezziwig’s was licensed to another record company.
This new record company didn’t care for the title or cover design for Inside Fezziwig’s so they changed the title and the artwork and called it A Dicken’s Christmas.
A few years later this record company was bought by another record company. A couple of years after that this new record company was up for sale. No one bought them and they eventually went out of business.
When a record company goes out of business it’s “assets” are bought by others (creditors, bargain hunters, etc.) My recording was resold, released under different names and artwork and the songs were sliced and diced onto other projects.
As the internet grew I started receiving incredibly nice emails, notes and sometimes phone calls from people who let me know that I (my music) was part of their family’s holiday celebration. It was very surprising, satisfying and humbling all at the same time.
I grew curious. I discovered that my recording was on blogs. Some people used my music on their family You Tube videos. By searching I-Tunes and other digital distributors I was able to find all the various other titles and companies Inside Fezziwig’s was re-released under. It’s was a confusing trail to follow.
This year I am digitally re-releasing Inside Fezziwig’s, The Spirit of Christmas Past on my website.(https://edsweeneymusic.com/cds-downloads-store)
I have learned many lessons from these experiences.
1. I believe every artist should learn and experience the business side of their art. I think it helps an artist grow. It can be both a negative and positive experience.
2. I am not a victim. I never received any royalties or sales for all the various permutations Inside Fezziwig’s went through. Would I have like to receive the royalties and sales…yes. There really isn’t anyone to be angry with for “borrowing” my work. I choose not to pursue or threaten litigation. It would be a waste of time, money and emotions. It was business. The music business is hard. You have to learn not to take it personally.
3. Royalties and sales should not the only reason to make a recording or create anything as an artist. I am surprised and pleased that something I created and recorded over 30 years ago has been and still is a musical part of people’s lives. I got to record with musicians and people I like and admire. The fact that people like our work is incredibly rewarding.
4. I know I am very fortunate.