For those of you who shuddered every time your mom sent you an email linking to a homemade YouTube clip featuring Baauer‘s “Harlem Shake,” you can rest easy knowing the young DJ made no money off the viral hit. It’s true! The trap rave squiggle-fest made it all the way to the #1 spot on Billboard‘s Hot 100, and yet the 24-year-old Brooklynite hasn’t profited from all that Internet capital.
“I haven’t seen any money from it,” he told Pitchfork in a recent interview. “I think it’s mostly because of all the legal shit. I didn’t clear the samples because I was in my fucking bedroom on Grand Street.” The song samples two artists without their permission, and once it became a hit, they came at Baauer with their legal teams. Specifically, Hector Delgado, who is responsible for the “Con los terroristas” vocal, sought compensation.
“I didn’t even know who it was who did that [sample]; I knew the Jayson Musson [sample]. So I found myself in that fucking pickle,” Baauer added. “Legal letters and shit. Ugh. Lawyers. So exposure-wise it was fantastic, but everything else…” So let that be a warning to you DIY bedroom DJs out there: meme doesn’t pay.
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