Local Musicians Garfield Baker and Byron Smith Sue For Sample Royalties From Cumbia Hit
Photo by Jacob Katel
Garfield Baker and Byron Smith may not be household names, but you probably know some of their jams. They're the guys behind freestyle hits like "Don't Stop the Rock," and "It's Automatic" by Freestyle. They helped create multiple national and international hit records right out of their Carol City home base.
Today, their songs are just as in demand as samples for new music. Problem is, at least according to a new suit in Miami-Dade court, Warner/Chappell Music hasn't been paying them for the new hits using their old instrumentals.
The songwriters are now trying to collect the royalties for one song in particular: "Don't Stop the Rock."
The instrumental of that hit has been used in various songs, but most notably in "Muévelo," a 2007 Spanish platinum single by Los Super Reyes. "Muévelo" received widespread critical acclaim as the first single from Mexican cumbia singer Cruz Martínez after he separated from his group Los Kumbia Kings.
While both men were credited for their role in writing the song, they claim they didn't receive any of the profits. Between Internet sales and downloads, the songwriters are looking to get their cut from the song, which now has more than 3 million YouTube views.
Here's their original hit, "Don't Stop the Rock":
And here is "Muévelo" by Los Super Reyes. The background instrumental comes straight from "Don't Stop the Rock."
This isn't the songwriters' first run-in with the Warner/Chappell Music. In 2009, the pair worked out their first mediation settlement agreement with the music company. An amendment to this agreement was filed later that year further outlining their shares in each of their original songs.
According the latest agreement, Baker and Smith are each entitled to 18.75 percent of revenue for "Muévelo" and 25 percent for other songs like "Don't Stop the Rock." The revenue for these shares is what the songwriters claim they haven't received.
Neither Warner/Chappell Music nor the songwriters responded to requests for comment from Riptide.
Baker and Smith are currently asking the court for $15,000 in civil damages and want to reserve the right to seek compensation from other punitive damages.
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