Artist News Business News Digital Releases

Deerhoof hit out at Daytrotter website over the monetisation of their 2009 session

By | Published on Tuesday 27 June 2017


Deerhoof published a Facebook post over the weekend cautioning artists considering recording a session for Daytrotter, the long established US-based website that presents a steady stream of original live session recordings.

Although starting off by conceding that “the vast majority of musicians have no doubt had a good experience working with” the site, and that “I am not legally permitted to say whether any of the following happened to Deerhoof”, the post then goes on to describe the band’s experience with Daytrotter, relating to a session they recorded for the site in 2009.

Deerhoof’s two main grievances are that their session was put behind Daytrotter’s paywall despite them being told it would be available to fans for free, and that a subsequent physical release of the session went out without the band’s permission. The band say that at different points in the saga they were either met with a flood of apologies from the Daytrotter team or radio silence, until, that is, they started dealing with the owner of the site’s parent company, the sometimes contentious Wolfgang’s Vault.

At that point, they allege, they were told the company would “take appropriate action” if they were to “disparage Daytrotter in any way” to the music community. The site’s management and lawyer then subsequently insisted that, under US copyright law, Daytrotter controlled the masters in the band’s session and could do whatever it liked with the recording. The band say that it was only at that point that they began “to understand that what happened [was] not in fact a screw-up, but the legal and deliberate business practice of [the Daytrotter] company”.

Responding to Deerhoof’s post, a spokesperson for Daytrotter told Pitchfork: “Over the last eleven years, Daytrotter has recorded more than 7000 bands and 32,000 songs in Daytrotter sessions. Daytrotter has had a membership model for eight and a half years. The price of the monthly membership is used to keep our studio open and cover our costs. Daytrotter has never in its history been profitable. Daytrotter sincerely appreciates all of the artists that it has had the opportunity to work with, and looks forward to continuing to having artists from all over the world coming to Daytrotter’s well known studios to produce great music and share this music with everyone”.

On Deerhoof’s specific allegations, the site added that the band had “recorded its session eight years ago and there was an agreement between Sean Moeller, the founder of Daytrotter [now departed], and Deerhoof in regards to releasing their Daytrotter session on vinyl. The current Daytrotter team looks forward to continuing to record and promote bands for years to come”.